Image Source: Square Enix

Image Source: Square Enix
Final Fantasy VII: Remake (Square Enix)

The video game industry just celebrated a record first quarter that was fueled largely by families staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the toy industry has cautioned a potential decline in the second quarter, the first numbers from the video game industry tell a completely different story.

According to The NPD Group, tracked spending for the industry in April hit $1.5 billion, a whopping 73% increase compared to a year ago. That’s a new record high for an April month, beating a $1.2 billion spend back in 2008. The numbers reflect spending across video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards. Year-to-date spending is up 12% at $4.5 billion.

Notably, sales of video game software increased 55% over last year, also besting the previous record from April 2008. Hardware sales, which should be declining on the cusp of a new console generation, rose 163% as more players got into gaming. Similarly, sales of controllers and headsets shattered records. Year-to-date dollar sales of Nintendo Switch are the highest of any hardware platform in U.S. history, and combined sales of Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch saw a 160% gain over last April.

Big Franchises Dominate Top Games

Fall is typically the season for Activision’s Call of Duty, but with more than 60 million players enjoying the Warzone extension, two titles from the franchise cracked the top 10 last month. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) held the No. 2 spot and remains the best-selling game of this year and of the past 12 months. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: Remastered (an updated version of the 2009 sequel to the original Modern Warfare) finished at No. 7. Additionally, 2015’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III hit No. 8 in the Xbox One charts.

Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons charted at No. 3 as Final Fantasy VII: Remake (pictured top) blasted to the top of the chart to become the best-selling game of April, the best-selling game of 2020 on PlayStation 4, and instantly becomes the No. 3 best-selling game overall this year.

Finally, as more families challenge each other, Just Dance 2020 continues to climb the charts, up to No. 11 from No. 17 in March. The game is the fastest-selling title in the franchise since Just Dance 2014.

Image Source: Square Enix

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.