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January 2020 NPD Sales Results

U.S. video game sales data for January 2020 has arrived and it doesn’t look good for the video game industry as a whole. With the distinct lack of compelling software for the month the software sales were down 31% year-over-year to just $311 million. Remember last year both Resident Evil 2 and Kingdom Hearts 3 led the charge, along with sure-fire sellers like New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe on the Switch. As anyone who has a remote interest in video games can tell you, this spring has been extraordinarily slow with a lack of blockbuster hits that we’ve become accustomed to over the past few years.

Adding insult to injury, video game hardware numbers were even worse! They came in with a decline of 35% year-over-year with $129 million in revenue versus $199 million the year prior. This is to be somewhat expected with new systems like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X coming to store shelves later this year. Most retailers have been regularly discounting the Xbox One X with a hefty $150 price cut (down to $349 from $499) and even that doesn’t seem to have enticed new buyers. Accessories and gaming cards contributed $238 million, down from $268 million the year prior. Add all of these data points up and you come up with total video game sales of $678 million, a massive 26% decrease over last year’s $918 million. Yikes!

In prior console generations we would expect to see a steady decline in hardware and software pricing. Although the PS4 and Xbox One S have gone on sale for as little as $199 during Black Friday, permanent price drops have been a missing part of this console cycle. In fact, the PS4 has only seen one permanent price adjustment from $399 launch to $299 today. That’s incredible when you consider how long the console has been on the market. One can’t hope but wonder how many more would be sold if they could get the price down to $199 on a permanent basis.

The Nintendo Switch once again tops the hardware sales charts. This isn’t a huge surprise given its continued popularity and relative newness when compared to the competing systems. Unfortunately the Switch was unable to beat its massive sales in January of 2019, seeing a year-over-year decline. This is partly due to the lack of new software for the month and also because the year prior the hybrid was still selling well thanks to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which had released the month prior.

Looking forward to February there doesn’t seem to be any huge games on the way for that month and we can expect similar results (a decline over last year). With tax return money starting to trickle out to customers perhaps that will help ignite some sales for late February and throughout March, which sees several high profile games launching, such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal.


Data courtesy of VentureBeat:

January 2020 Top 20 Best Selling Games

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 digital sales, and Activision Blizzard does not provide its sales. These charts are sorted by dollar sales — not number of units sold.

  1. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019
  3. Madden NFL 20
  4. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  5. Grand Theft Auto V
  6. NBA 2K20
  7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  8. Mario Kart 8*
  9. Ring Fit Adventure
  10. Red Dead Redemption II
  11. Minecraft#
  12. Pokemon Sword*
  13. Luigi’s Mansion 3*
  14. Star Wars: Battlefront II 2017
  15. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  16. Need for Speed: Heat
  17. FIFA 20
  18. Just Dance 2020
  19. Mortal Kombat 11
  20. Pokemon Shield*

* Digital sales not included
^ Steam sales not included
# Minecraft digital sales on Xbox and PlayStation included


“Dollar sales of tracked video game software fell 31 percent in January compared to a year ago, to $311 million,” said Piscatella. “Declines were driven by the new release slate, as the January 2019 comparable month featured both Kingdom Hearts III and Resident Evil 2.”

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

Goku came out of January a victor, and Kakarot is one of the franchise’s fastest-selling games ever.

“Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot was January’s best-selling game,” said Piscatella. “Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot launch month sales were there third highest in franchise history, trailing only Dragon Ball: Fighterz and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai.”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty, meanwhile, continues to dominate sales.

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was the second best-selling title in the month of January and remains the best-selling game over the past 12 months,” said Piscatella.

Grand Theft Auto V

GTA V is a perennial hit. It will likely continue charting long after human society has faded from the Earth.

“Grand Theft Auto V returned to the top-five best-selling titles for the first time since August 2019,” said Piscatella. “Grand Theft Auto V remains the best-selling video game in U.S. history.”

Ring Fit Adventure

Nintendo didn’t have any major first-party releases in January, but word-of-mouth is helping Ring Fit Adventure climb the charts.

“Ring Fit Adventure jumped to become the 9th ranked title on the best-sellers chart in January,” said Piscatella. “This is the highest ranked placement for Ring Fit Adventure to date.”

Top 10 games over the last 12 months

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019
  2. NBA 2K20
  3. Madden NFL 20
  4. Borderlands 3
  5. Mortal Kombat 11
  6. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  7. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
  8. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  9. Grand Theft Auto V
  10. Mario Kart 8*

Top 10 Xbox One games in January 2020

  1. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019
  3. Madden NFL 20
  4. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  5. NBA 2K20
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. Star Wars: Battlefront II 2017
  8. Red Dead Redemption II
  9. Need for Speed: Heat
  10. FIFA 20

Top 10 PS4 games in January 2020

  1. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019
  3. Madden NFL 20
  4. Grand Theft Auto V
  5. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  6. NBA 2K20
  7. Need for Speed: Heat
  8. Minecraft
  9. FIFA 20
  10. Red Dead Redemption II

Top 10 Nintendo Switch games in January 2020

  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  2. Mario Kart 8*
  3. Ring Fit Adventure
  4. Pokemon Sword*
  5. Luigi’s Mansion 3*
  6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  7. Pokemon Shield*
  8. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*
  9. Super Mario Party*
  10. Just Dance 2020


[Source: VentureBeat]


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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