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October 2018 NPD: It’s Party Time!

We’ve been waiting to see what October had in store for video game sales since most of the big hitters on other platforms debuted. Both surprising and not at the same time, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 secured the number one spot for the month, beating out Red Dead Redemption 2. This not only speaks to the continued selling power of Call of Duty, but it’s also obvious that gamers didn’t really care that the game didn’t include a single player campaign. The game was on the market for about 2 more weeks than Red Dead 2, which came in second place for the month.

In general, the video game industry is doing extremely well with $1.545 billion in sales for October 2018 (up 73% from $894 million last October). Comprising that number is hardware at $300 million (up 26% year-over-year), software sales of $965 million (up 104%), and accessories (including game cards) at $280 million (up 54%). October of 2018’s dollar sales is the highest ever since NPD began tracking video game data back in 1995, mostly thanks to high install bases of PS4 and Xbox One and the mammoth releases from September and October.

Leading the way for hardware sales is once again Sony with its PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro console sales. In fact, PS4 unit sales achieved an all-time October high for the system and we have to go all the way back to October of 2002 where PS2 sold these types of numbers. Xbox One, NES Classic, and SNES Classic continue to spur hardware growth. While we don’t have exact numbers, it sounds like the Nintendo Switch had a sluggish month compared to last year with no AAA hit games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey there to drive sales. We’ve addressed this issue before, but Nintendo’s big holiday releases are Pokémon: Let’s Go and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – which won’t show up in sales data until November and December NPD reports. Time will tell how much these games push Switch hardware during the holiday shopping season.

According to the NPD (via ResetEra), October sales milestones include:

Best October for software ever: Dollar sales of Console, Portable and PC Games Software totalled $965 million in October 2018, more than doubling compared to a year ago. This represents an all-time high for PC & Video Games Software spending in an October month. The previous best of $743 million was reached in October 2008.

Black Ops IIII tops the chart: Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII is the best-selling game of October. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII launch month dollar sales represent the 8th highest in Video Game history since The NPD Group began tracking in 1995. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII instantly becomes the best-selling game of the year, and the 2nd best-selling game across the past twelve month period, trailing only Call of Duty: WWII.

Red Dead Redemption 2 sales 3x the original: With just nine days of reported sales, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the second best-selling game of October 2018 and is now also the second best-selling game year to date. Red Dead Redemption 2 launch month sales more than tripled those of the previous title in the series, Red Dead Redemption, which launched May 2010.

AC Odyssey continues to find success: Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey repeated its September success, again ranking as the third best-selling game of the month. In September, the game had double-digit percentage dollar sales growth when compared to the launch of Assassin’s Creed: Origins a year ago.

Super Mario party is the third fastest selling Mario Party game: Super Mario Party climbs the charts this month to rank fifth in October sales after its September debut placed it at number nine in the rankings. Over each title’s first two months in market, Super Mario Party is now the third fastest selling Mario Party game in history, trailing only Mario Party and Mario Party 8.

Soul Calibur VI debuts at #6: Soul Calibur VI debuts as the sixth best-selling game of October. Soul Calibur VI achieved the third highest launch month dollar sales for the franchise in tracked history, trailing only Soul Calibur IV and Soul Calibur II.

Activision and Take Two are the top publishers this year: Activision Blizzard was the highest revenue generating publisher for the month of October, while Take-Two Interactive has achieved the highest total revenue year to date.

Hardware spend is up YTD: For the 2018 year-to-date period, hardware spending has increased 19 percent, to $2.7 billion. Spending gains for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Plug N Play devices such as the NES Classic Edition and SNES Classic Edition continue to drive growth.

PS4 was the top selling console in October: PlayStation 4 was October’s best-selling hardware platform in both units and dollars sold. PlayStation 4 hardware unit sales achieved an all-time October high for the platform, while PlayStation 4 hardware dollar sales reached its highest point for an October month since October 2014. October 2018 unit sales of PlayStation 4 reached the highest mark for any PlayStation hardware platform in an October month since the PlayStation 2 in October 2002.

Accessories spend reaches an all time high: Total spending on Accessories and Game Cards grew 54 percent in October 2018 when compared to a year ago, to an all-time high of $280 million. Year-to-date, Accessories and Game Card spending has grown 35 percent when compared to a year ago, to $3 billion. This is also an all-time high, besting the $2.2 billion generated in the 2017 year-to-date period.

Headset and Headphones get a boost: Consumer spending on Headsets & Headphones doubled in October when compared to a year ago, while Gamepad spending increased 63 percent. Turtle Beach was October’s leading manufacturer of Headsets & Headphones, while Sony ranked as the best-selling manufacturer of Gamepads.


Finally, for the full Top 20 software results! Remember Nintendo does not report digital sales, so some of their games could rank higher in the overall rankings:


Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel, ranked on dollar sales

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII^
  2. Red Dead Redemption II
  3. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  4. NBA 2K19
  5. Super Mario Party*
  6. Soul Calibur VI
  7. FIFA 19^
  8. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  9. Madden NFL 19^
  10. WWE 2K19
  11. Forza Horizon 4
  12. Lego DC Super Villains
  13. My Hero One’s Justice
  14. Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
  15. Mario Kart 8*
  16. Grand Theft Auto V
  17. Super Mario Odyssey*
  18. Diablo III*
  19. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  20. NHL 19

* Digital sales not included
^ PC digital sales not included


[Source: NPD via ResetEra]


Craig Majaski

Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He's currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.

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