November 2018 NPD: Red Dead on top with strong debut from Pikachu

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The video game industry in the United States was flat year-over-year in November, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. U.S. consumers spent $2.693 billion on hardware, software, and accessories. In November 2017, that number was $2.706 billion. Overall, the month was still strong considering it had a tough comparison to last year.

“Gains in hardware, accessories and game card spending were offset by a decline in software due to the shift of the launch Call of Duty into the October month,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Year-to-date spending across video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards has grown 16 percent when compared to the same period a year ago, to $13.2 billion. This is the highest year-to-date total spend achieved since the $13.9 billion achieved between January and November 2010.”

Hardware continues to grow as more people jump onto the Xbox One X, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. And new games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76 both performed well — although they are both existing in the shadows of bigger games.

Here are results from November 2018

  • Total: $2.693 billion (flat from $2.706 billion in November 2017)
  • Hardware: $1.182 billion (up 3 percent from $1.147 billion)
  • PC and console software: $1.008 billion (down 15 percent from $1.188 billion)
  • Accessories and game cards: $503 million (up 35 percent from $371 million)

Results for 2018 year-to-date

  • Total: $13.214 billion (up 16 percent from $11.378 billion in 2017 year to date)
  • Hardware: $3.905 billion (up 14 percent from $3.441 billion)
  • PC and console software: $5.849 billion (up 9 percent from $5.369 billion)
  • Accessories: $3.46 billion (up 35 percent from $2.568 billion)

Let’s do the software charts.

The best-selling games of November 2018 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 doesn’t share its first-party sales, and Activision Blizzard does not provide its Battle.net sales.

These charts are sorted by dollar sales — not number of units sold. 

  1. Red Dead Redemption II
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII**
  3. Battlefield V**
  4. Fallout 76*
  5. Pokemon: Lets Go Pikachu*
  6. Pokemon: Lets Go Eevee*
  7. NBA 2K19
  8. Madden NFL 19^
  9. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
  10. FIFA 19**
  11. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  12. Super Mario Party*
  13. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  14. Mario Kart 8*
  15. WWE 2K19
  16. God of War 2018
  17. Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
  18. Just Dance 2019
  19. Grand Theft Auto V
  20. Forza Horizon 4

*Does not include digital sales
**Does not include PC digital sales

November’s top 20 is most notable for once again proving how October’s strength. The top two games on this chart were the two major releases from last month. And one of those was Call of Duty, which has traditionally debuted in November. Its earlier release instead left a gaping hole in what is traditionally one of the biggest months of the year.

“Dollar sales of console, portable and PC games software totaled $1 billion in November 2018, declining 15 percent when compared to a year ago,” said Piscatella. “The shift in launch timing for Call of Duty from November to October is the driver of the change.”

But continued strong sales for Call of Duty and Red Dead kept November from looking like a catastrophe. And 2018 is still looking like a major expansion in game-related spending in the United States.

“Year-to-date dollar sales of console, portable and PC games software exceeded $5.8 billion, a 9 percent increase over the same time period last year,” said Piscatella. “This is the highest year-to-date total for software spending since the $7 billion achieved in the year-to-date 2011 comparable period.”

Red Dead Redemption II

But the big winner of the month was Red Dead Redemption II. It debuted October 26, and it carried its sales momentum through November. It still hasn’t taken over Call of Duty as the best-selling game of 2018, but Black Ops 4 debuted about two weeks earlier.

But Rockstar’s cowboy sim has certainly outperformed its predecessor.

“Red Dead Redemption 2 is the best-selling game of November 2018 and is the 2nd best-selling game year-to-date,” said Piscatella. “With two months in market, sales of Red Dead Redemption 2 now exceed the lifetime sales of the previous title in the franchise, Red Dead Redemption, by nearly 40 percent.”

Call of Duty

But Call of Duty has still outsold Red Dead year-to-date. The NPD Group doesn’t track Call of Duty’s digital PC sales, though.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is the second best-selling game of November,” said Piscatella. “It remains the best-selling game year to date.”

But going beyond the comparison to Red Dead, Black Ops 4 is reaching some near-historic numbers.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is the second fastest selling game on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in history, trailing only 2017’s Call of Duty: WWII,” said Piscatella. “This is the fifth consecutive year, and ninth time in the last 10 years, that a title from the Call of Duty franchise has been the best-selling game over the January through November time period.”

Fallout 76 and Battlefield V

While Fallout  76 continues to face backlash from fans who aren’t happy with it, they still showed up to buy the game.

“Fallout 76 is the fourth best-selling game of November, despite digital not being reported for Bethesda Softworks published titles,” said Piscatella. “Fallout 76 physical sales achieved the third highest launch month sales in franchise history, trailing only Fallout 4 and Fallout New Vegas.”

Pokémon

Of course, Nintendo also launched new Pokémon games in November, and they broke into the top 10.

“Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee are the No. 5 and No. 6 best-selling games of November, respectively,” said Piscatella. “Launch month sales of Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu are the second highest in franchise history, trailing only Pokéman Stadium, which launched on the Nintendo 64 in the March 2000 tracking period.”

It’s important to note that Nintendo doesn’t share digital sales with NPD, so the game should likely be higher on the list. Additionally, if you combine both Pikachu and Eevee, that single game would likely place higher on the sales chart.

Please note that Pokémon: Let’s Go sales totals include only physical sales, as digital sales are not currently reported for Nintendo published titles.

Spyro

“Spyro Reignited Trilogy is the No. 9 best-selling game of November,” said Piscatella. “The launch month dollar sales of Spyro Reignited Trilogy are more than 30 percent higher than the combined launch month sales of all other Spyro games in history.”

That doesn’t include Skylanders, which started as a Spyro spinoff.

God of War

Finally, Sony’s big game from earlier in 2018 returned to the charts this month.

“God of War returns to the monthly top 20 best-sellers list for the first time since August, ranking as the No. 16 best-selling game of November,” said Piscatella. “It is currently the No. 7 best-selling game year-to-date.”

Top 10 best-selling games so far this year

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII*
  2. Red Dead Redemption II
  3. NBA 2K19
  4. Far Cry 5
  5. Madden NFL 19**
  6. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  7. God of War 2018
  8. Monster Hunter: World
  9. Grand Theft Auto V
  10. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

Top 10 best-selling games of the last 12 months

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII*
  2. Red Dead Redemption II
  3. Call of Duty: WWII**
  4. NBA 2K19
  5. Far Cry 5
  6. Madden NFL 19**
  7. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  8. God of War 2018
  9. Monster Hunter: World
  10. Super Mario Odyssey*

Top 10 Xbox One

  1. Red Dead Redemption II
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
  3. Battlefield V\
  4. Fallout 76*
  5. Madden NFL 19
  6. NBA 2K19
  7. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  8. FIFA 19
  9. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
  10. Forza Horizon 4

Top 10 PlayStation 4

  1. Red Dead Redemption II
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
  3. Fallout 76*
  4. Battlefield V
  5. NBA 2K19
  6. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
  7. Madden NFL 19
  8. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  9. FIFA 19
  10. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

Top 10 Nintendo Switch (no digital)

  1. Pokemon: Lets Go Pikachu
  2. Pokemon: Lets Go Eevee
  3. Super Mario Party
  4. Mario Kart 8
  5. Super Mario Odyssey
  6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  7. Just Dance 2019
  8. Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy
  9. Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
  10. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Top 10 Nintendo 3DS (no digital)

  1. Luigi’s Mansion
  2. Pokemon: Ultra Sun
  3. Pokemon: Ultra Moon
  4. Super Mario 3D Land
  5. Mario Kart 7
  6. Super Smash Bros.
  7. Minecraft
  8. Detective Pikachu
  9. Donkey Kong Country Returns
  10. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Source: VentureBeat

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