Big surge in video game sales

Spending on video game hardware and software jumped in May 2020, according to the latest data from NPD Group.

The company’s monthly reports provide both online and retail sales results for new physical video game products, as well as a subset of full-game digital downloads from participating publishers in NPD’s digital panel.

According to its analysis, tracked spending across video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards in May 2020 totalled $977 million, which is 52% higher than in the same month in 2019.

Year to date spending was 18% higher than in the same period from 2019, with a total of $5.5 billion spent across gaming hardware and software.

NPD’s Video Games industry analyst Mat Piscatella said this was the highest total for the year-to-date period since the $5.7 billion recorded between January 2011 and May 2011.


Tracked video game software sales contributed the largest portion of the total sales in May at $438 million, up 67% from the previous year.

“This is the highest total achieved since the $487 million reached in May 2010,” Piscatella noted.

Year-to-date sales of tracked video game software reached $2.5 billion, 13% higher when compared to a year ago.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was the best-selling title of May, and remains the top-seller of 2020 to date.

There appeared to be no significantly-popular new releases in the last month.

“No new releases ranked among the top 10 best-selling games of the month,” Piscatella said.

“The highest-ranking new release was Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, which placed at #14 on the all-platforms chart.”

Hardware and accessories

Spending on hardware increased by 56% when compared to May 2019, reaching $235 million. This puts the total year-to-date spending on this category at $1.4 billion.

The Nintendo Switch was the best-selling game console in both unit and dollar sales.

“Nintendo Switch unit sales were the highest for an individual platform in a May month since the Nintendo 3DS in May 2009,” Piscatella stated.

May 2020 spending on accessories and game cards rose to $304 million, an increase of 32%.

The Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controllers was the best-selling accessory for both May and the year to date, in terms of dollar sales.

“Gamepads, headsets/headphones and steering wheels all set new May dollar sales records,” Piscatella added.

Below are the top 10 best-selling video games of May 2020 and the year-to-date as tracked by NPD Group.

Top-selling video games of May 2020

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Grand Theft Auto V
  3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  4. NBA 2K20
  5. Mortal Kombat 11
  6. Red Dead Redemption 2
  7. Minecraft
  8. Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  9. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  10. Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order


Top-selling video games to date

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  3. Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  4. Grand Theft Auto V
  5. NBA 2K20
  6. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
  7. MLB: The Show 20
  8. Resident Evil 3
  9. Madden NFL 20
  10. Red Dead Redemption 2

Animal Crossing

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Big surge in video game sales