It’s not just puzzles and toilet paper that are hot, hot, hot. Video games are also in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to The NPD Group, March 2020 tracked spending across video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards totaled $1.6 billion, showing a 35% increase compared to last year. This massive uptick marks the highest reported video game spend in March since the $1.8 billion achieved in 2008.
With 42 states under stay-at-home orders in an effort to decrease the spread of the coronavirus, people suddenly have a need for more at-home entertainment than ever before, including streaming services, tabletop gaming, puzzles, and video games. Games with local and online multiplayer features and those that replicate major league sports are especially popular.
Software sales grew 34% to $739 million in March compared to a year ago, with Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons leading the way as the bestselling game in March, followed by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare from Activision, and MLB The Show 20 from Sony. Launch-month dollar sales of Animal Crossing: New Horizons exceeded the lifetime sales of all other Animal Crossing games, making it the bestselling game in franchise history. Click here to read the game review from our sister pub the Pop Insider!
Despite next-gen consoles coming out later this year, video game hardware spending grew a staggering 63% in March, totaling $461 million. Nintendo Switch hardware sales more than doubled from last year, setting a new all-time record and besting sales in March 2017 when the console first launched. Plus, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One each grew by more than 25%.
Total spending on accessories and game cards in March reached $397 million, increasing 12% when compared to a year ago. Controller and headset/headphone spending was also up.
Though March came in like a lion, total year-to-date tracked sales for video games are down 4% to $3 billion. We can’t wait to see what April brings.