May 2021 NPD: Improving weather and pandemic conditions cannot slow U.S. game sales


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Video games once again maintained their sales momentum in the United States. The industry actually saw a year-over-year increase in sales compared to last May, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. That was due in large part to the sales power of Resident Evil: Village as well as the ongoing thirst for new-generation hardware and software.

May 2021 consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories increased 3% when compared to a year ago, reaching $4.5 billion, NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said.

May 2021 Dollar Sales, Millions May 2020 May 2021 Change
Total Video Game Sales $4,343 $4,452 3%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR) platforms) $3,955 $4,066 3%
Video Game Hardware $233 $244 5%
Video Game Accessories $154 $142 -8%
* Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

Like in April, it is impressive that the industry was able to replicate many of its results in software and hardware compared to the early months of pandemic-related stay-at-home orders in the U.S. While no one knows if the influx of video game customers will stay around long-term, they have at least not fled the hobby as vaccination rates increased and as the weather has warmed up.

And that means that the industry is still up significantly in 2021 versus 2020.

Year-to-date consumer spending totaled $24 billion, a 17% increase compared to the same period in 2020, said Piscatella.

Year-to-Date 2021 Dollar Sales, Millions YTD 2020 YTD 2021 Change
Total Video Game Sales $20,544 $24,017 17%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR) platforms) $18,236 $21,046 15%
Video Game Hardware $1,430 $1,944 36%
Video Game Accessories $877 $1,027 17%
* Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

Lets get to the software charts.

May2021 NPD: The top 20 best-selling games of the month in the U.S.

NPD tracks physical sales at retailers, but it also gets digital data directly from publishers. But not every company participates. For example, Nintendo doesnt share its first-party sales, and Activision Blizzard does not provide its Battle.net sales.

Rank Last Month Rank May 2021 Top 20 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 NEW Resident Evil: Village Capcom USA
2 1 MLB: The Show 21^ Sony (Corp)
3 2 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
4 3 New Pokemon Snap* Nintendo
5 6 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros. Interactive
6 10 Mario Kart 8* Nintendo
7 8 Returnal Sony (Corp)
8 15 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
9 14 Minecraft Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
10 11 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) Activision Blizzard (Corp)
11 12 Marvels Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Corp)
12 13 Super Mario 3D World* Nintendo
13 17 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Nintendo
14 9 It Takes Two Electronic Arts
15 NEW Biomutant* Nordic Games
16 18 Assassins Creed: Valhalla Ubisoft
17 7 Monster Hunter: Rise Capcom USA
18 20 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild* Nintendo
19 19 Pokemon: Sword/Shield* Nintendo
20 247 Days Gone Sony (Corp)
* Digital sales not included
^ Xbox Digital sales not included

Nintendo continues to see long-term sales for its games. The publisher has seven products on the top 20 chart, and that includes 2017 releases like Mario Kart 8 at No. 6 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at No. 18.

Sony also had a strong month thanks to its back catalogue with four games on the chart. That includes MLB: The Show 21 at No. 2, Returnal at No. 8, Marvels Spider-Man: Miles Morales at No. 11, and Days Gone sneaking back in at No. 20.

Days Gone

Days Gone was nowhere near the top 20 in April, but Sony gave it a boost with a new port for Steam.

Days Gone was the 20th best-selling game of May 2021, after placing 247th on the April chart, said Piscatella. Days Gone was released to the PC platform via Steam on May 17, 2021.

Resident Evil: Village

Resident Evil: Village, meanwhile, was a juggernaut for Capcom, and it shows that fans are rewarding the publisher for investing in the beloved franchise.

Resident Evil: Village was the best-selling game of May 2021. Resident Evil: Village generated the highest launch month sales of any 2021 release, and after one month in market the title ranked as the 2nd best-selling game of 2021 to date. Resident Evil: Village was the best-selling game of the month on both PlayStation and Xbox platforms.

Top 10 best-selling games so far this year

Rank Last Month Rank Year-to-Date Ending May 2021 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 1 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 NEW Resident Evil: Village Capcom USA
3 3 MLB: The Show 21^ Sony (Corp)
4 2 Super Mario 3D World* Nintendo
5 4 Monster Hunter: Rise Capcom USA
6 5 Marvels Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Corp)
7 6 Outriders Square Enix Inc (Corp)
8 8 Mario Kart 8* Nintendo
9 7 Assassins Creed: Valhalla Ubisoft
10 9 Minecraft Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
* Digital sales not included
^ Xbox Digital sales not included

Top 10 best-selling games of the last 12 months

Rank Last Month Rank 12 Months Ending May 2021 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 1 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 2 Madden NFL 21 Electronic Arts
3 3 Assassins Creed: Valhalla Ubisoft
4 5 The Last of Us: Part II Sony (Corp)
5 8 Marvels Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Corp)
6 7 Ghost of Tsushima Sony (Corp)
7 6 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
8 9 Super Mario 3D All-Stars* Nintendo
9 4 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) Activision Blizzard (Corp)
10 10 NBA 2K21* Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
* Digital sales not included

May 2021 NPD: Top 10 best-selling Nintendo games in the U.S.

Rank Last Month Rank May 2021 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 1 New Pokemon Snap* Nintendo
2 3 Mario Kart 8* Nintendo
3 5 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
4 4 Super Mario 3D World* Nintendo
5 7 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Nintendo
6 2 Monster Hunter: Rise Capcom USA
7 9 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild* Nintendo
8 8 Pokemon: Sword/Shield* Nintendo
9 NEW Miitopia* Nintendo
10 10 Super Mario Party* Nintendo
* Digital sales not included

May 2021 NPD: Top 10 best-selling PlayStation-platform games in the U.S.

Rank Last Month Rank May 2021 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 NEW Resident Evil: Village Capcom USA
2 1 MLB: The Show 21 Sony (Corp)
3 2 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
4 3 Returnal Sony (Corp)
5 5 Marvels Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Sony) Sony (Corp)
6 7 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros. Interactive
7 NEW Biomutant* Nordic Games
8 9 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) Activision Blizzard (Corp)
9 8 It Takes Two Electronic Arts
10 11 Assassins Creed: Valhalla Ubisoft
* Digital sales not included

May 2021 NPD: Top 10 best-selling Xbox-platform games in the U.S.

Rank Last Month Rank May 2021 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 NEW Resident Evil: Village Capcom USA
2 1 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
3 4 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros. Interactive
4 5 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) Activision Blizzard (Corp)
5 2 MLB: The Show 21* Sony (Corp)
6 3 It Takes Two Electronic Arts
7 7 Assassins Creed: Valhalla Ubisoft
8 NEW Biomutant* Nordic Games
9 9 Forza Horizon 4 Microsoft (Corp)
10 12 UFC 4 Electronic Arts
* Digital sales not included

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