American Gaming Market Generates Record $60.4 billion in Spending
Big gaming turns out to be big money. The latest annual report on the US video games industry by The NPD Group shows record spending by Americans on video games with an 8% year-over-year increase from 2020.
The gaming industry had a massive boom in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic related lockdowns and public health measures that saw a 27% increase in revenues. With the world starting to re-open and vaccines widely available, it’s still a bit of a surprise to see continued growth in the video game sector.
By item sold, hardware (consoles) saw the largest growth from the previous year at a 14% increase. Software sales (which includes games, DLC and subscriptions among other items) grew by 7% while accessories (controllers and other peripherals) only grew 2%.
In case you were wondering what would prompt Microsoft to spend almost $70 billion in cash to buy Activision Blizzard, you need not look far down the list of the top selling games of 2021. In fact, you only need to look at the first two games on the list. That’s because the best and second-best selling games of last calendar year were Call of Duty games published by Activision Blizzard. As this list is based only on copies sold, it wouldn’t include free-to-play games like Call of Duty: Warzone whose revenue from microtransactions would be another selling point for Microsoft. Mobile gaming is in a separate NPD Group report so we don’t know how much CoD Mobile might contribute to Activision Blizzard’s bottom line.
It’s important to note that the top selling games list are based on copies sold, not gross revenue. There also isn’t an indication that Xbox Game Pass downloads or other subscriptions services would factor into this list. Maybe that’s why Microsoft’s first game on the list is Minecraft at #13. As for exclusive new releases, Sony and Nintendo’s top exclusives both make the top ten list while you’d have to go to 20th for Microsoft’s Forza Horizon 5.
The top ten games from 2021 are:
- Call of Duty: Vanguard
- Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War
- Madden NFL 22
- Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond / Shining Pearl
- Battlefield 2042
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Mario Kart 8
- Resident Evil: Village
- MLB: The Show 21
- Super Mario 3D World
It’s important to reiterate that this report only covers the USA for the 2021 calendar year. If it’s anything like the movie box office, revenues outside the US market would be equal to or greater than the domestic haul. Like I said, big gaming is big money.