The year 2021 is expressing continuity in the positive trend of 2020 regarding the video game sector in the United States market. As indicated by The NPD Group for all of 2020, the consumer spend for the U.S. games industry across all categories had reached US$57 billion, a 27% increase versus 2019. The group’s numbers show that the U.S. ended year one of the pandemic the same way it began 2021. Recent figures revealed the U.S. spending on games rose 35% to US$4.6 billion in February 2021 in comparison to February 2020. Between the first two months of 2021, total spending on games was up 39% year-over-year to US$9.3 billion.
Hardware sales saw the largest relative growth in February, up 121% to US$406 million, the best February for consoles in the U.S. since the US$468 million grossed in 2011. The Nintendo Switch again led the way, both in terms of units sold and dollar sales, posting the highest February numbers for any console since February 2009. While the PS5 settled for second place in hardware sales, The NPD Group noted it is the fastest-selling hardware platform in U.S. history when judged by total dollar sales after four months.
NEW AND OLD GAMES, UP IN THE CHARTS
On the software side, total gaming content spending across console, mobile, PC, cloud, and subscription services was up 30% to US$4 billion. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury was the best-selling game of the month based on its physical sales alone (Nintendo does not provide digital tracking numbers to The NPD Group). Two other new releases made the top 20, as Persona 5: Strikers debuted in third place and Little Nightmares 2 landed in sixth. There was minor movement in the charts beyond that, as the three new arrivals to the top 20 pushed out January’s 18th, 19th, and 20th best-selling games (Cyberpunk 2077, Super Mario Party, and UFC 4, respectively). In fact, six of the best-selling titles of February 2021 also appeared in the top 20 charts of February 2020. Another four are the latest update to annualized franchises that appeared in last February’s chart. The remaining segment of the industry, accessories, saw spending up 41% to US$195 million, with the PS5 DualSense controller again bringing in the most dollar sales.