Jedi Knights, Pokémon, and boots-on-the-ground combat led the charge for gamers last month as the overall decline in video game sales continued into the start of the holiday season.
Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare nabbed the top spot on the video game charts for a second month, maintaining its position as the best-selling game of the year to date. Electronic Arts’ (EA) Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was the biggest of the new releases to move the needle, charting at No. 2 for November while instantly becoming the No. 9 best-selling game of the year. Ahead of this month’s theatrical release for Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and last month’s Disney+ debut of The Mandalorian, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order rode the wave of intergalactic excitement to the second-highest launch month for any Star Wars game in U.S. history. The game also scored the highest launch month in total dollar sales for a game developed by Respawn Entertainment.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield charted in the No. 3 and No. 5 spots, respectively, with the combined Pokémon Sword/Pokémon Shield Double Pack charting at No. 4. The combined debut created the highest launch month in dollar sales for any Pokémon release in U.S. history.
Despite some bright spots, according to the NPD Group, overall sales for the entire video game category — including hardware, software, and accessories — was $2.3 billion, a 19% decline versus last year. In terms of overall software sales, this November’s $926 million was a 14% decrease from the same period last year. Year-to-date spending for the video game category is $11.6 billion, a 12% decline over last year.
The overall decline in gaming is typical for years on the cusp of next-generation system launches, which will occur next year. The Sony Playstation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X are slated to debut next holiday season.
In the meantime, the Nintendo Switch remains the best-selling gaming platform of the year with steady increases in both hardware and software sales. The platform-exclusive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is now the best-selling fighting game in U.S. history.