September 2020 NPD: Avengers and Mario lead strong transition into autumn

Americans showed up to celebrate Super Mario’s 35th anniversary by giving a lot of money to Nintendo for Super Mario 3D All-Stars and the Nintendo Switch. Other major releases, like Marvel’s Avengers, also helped fuel year-over-year growth.

Here are the full results for September 2020’s game sales from industry-tracking firm The NPD Group:

September 2020 Dollar Sales, MillionsSep’19Sep’20CHG
Total Video Game Sales$3,929$4,31010%
Video Game Hardware$241$27715%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR platforms)$3,541$3,8418%
Video Game Accessories$148$19130%

“Consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories reached $4.3 billion in September 2020, a 10% increase when compared to a year ago,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Mobile, hardware, and accessories were among the largest growth segments.”

While that’s a big jump for the transitional month between summer and the busy fall season, it’s actually behind the pace of growth for 2020 so far.

“Year-to-date spending totaled $33.7 billion, 21% higher than the same time period in 2019,” said Piscatella.

2020 Year-to-Date Dollar Sales, Millions2019 YTD2020 YTDCHG
Total Video Game Sales$27,901$33,68921%
Video Game Hardware$1,878$2,29522%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR platforms)$24,744$29,77920%
Video Game Accessories$1,279$1,61526%

This shows that people are rushing out for big new game releases like Super Mario 3D All-Stars, and it should bode well for the launch of Xbox Series X on November 10 and PlayStation 5 on November 12.

September 2020 NPD: Nintendo Switch leads hardware

The launch of Super Mario 3D All-Stars helped push more people to pick up Nintendo’s Switch hardware. It sold well enough to even mitigate the slowing sales of the outgoing Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.

“September 2020 video game hardware spending reached $277 million, a 15% increase when compared to a year ago.,” said Piscatella. “Growth in sales of Nintendo Switch offset declines of other console platforms. Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console during September in both dollars and units.”

Hardware sales are still up huge for the year even before the release of PS5 and Xbox Series X and S.

“Year-to-date spending on hardware has increased 22% when compared to a year ago, to $2.3 billion,” said Piscatella.

Let’s take a closer look at software sales.

September 2020 NPD: Best-selling software

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 Battle.net sales, and Take-Two doesn’t always share its digital sales. This chart also does not include microtransactions, subscriptions, or anything beyond full-game sales. With those caveats in mind, it is best to think of this as a very useful snapshot of a much more dynamic industry.

All Platforms

RankLast Month RankSeptember 2020 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 salesPublisher
1NEWMarvel’s AvengersSquare Enix Inc (Corp)
2NEWSuper Mario 3D All-Stars*Nintendo
31Madden NFL 21Electronic Arts
4NEWTony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2Activision Blizzard (Corp)
5NEWNBA 2K21*Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
63Call of Duty: Modern WarfareActivision Blizzard (Corp)
7NEWCrusader Kings IIIParadox Interactive
85Animal Crossing: New Horizons*Nintendo
9NEWStar Wars: SquadronsElectronic Arts
107Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*Nintendo
11NEWCrash Bandicoot 4: It’s About TimeActivision Blizzard (Corp)
124Ghost of TsushimaSony (Corp)
136Ring Fit AdventureNintendo
148Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*Nintendo
152UFC 4Electronic Arts
1615New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*Nintendo
1711The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*Nintendo
1816Super Mario Odyssey*Nintendo
1910Mortal Kombat 11Warner Bros. Interactive
2018Super Mario Party*Nintendo
* Digital sales not included

Marvel’s Avengers

Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers had one of the best launches ever for a superhero game. This should give the game a strong chance of succeeding as it transitions into an ongoing live service.

“Marvel’s Avengers was the best-selling title of September,” said Piscatella. “Launch-month dollar sales of Marvel’s Avengers were the second highest for any superhero game in U.S. history, trailing only Marvel’s Spider-Man. Marvel’s Avengers debuted as the No. 7 best-selling game of 2020 year to date.”

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Mario was huge for Nintendo, and these results do not include any digital sales.

“Super Mario 3D All-Stars was the second best-selling game of September, and ranked as the No. 10 best-selling game of 2020 year to date,” said Piscatella. “Super Mario 3D All-Stars generated the second-highest launch-month for physical dollar sales of any 2020 release, trailing only Animal Crossing: New Horizons.”

Nintendo likely helped goose these early sales by promising (threatening) to pull the game from store shelves and its online store after March.

“Super Mario 3D All-Stars’ launch month physical dollar sales rank as the sixth biggest for a Nintendo-published title in U.S. history,” said Piscatella. “Super Mario 3D All-Stars trails only Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Pokémon Stadium in physical launch month dollar sales.”

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, meanwhile, was another remake hit for Activision.

“Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 was the fourth best-selling game in September,” said Piscatella. “The release achieved the highest launch month dollar sales of any title in Tony Hawk franchise history, surpassing Tony Hawk’s Underground 2, which originally launched in October 2004.”

Crusader Kings III

Crusader Kings III had a mammoth launch for publisher Paradox Interactive. It shows that series has moved out of niche status and into the gaming mainstream.

“Crusader Kings III was the seventh best-selling game of September,” said Piscatella. “With just one month of sales, Crusader Kings III ranks as the best-selling release in franchise history. The title also experienced the highest launch month dollar sales of any title published by Paradox Interactive.”

Best-selling games so far in 2020

RankLast Month RankYear-to-Date Ending September 2020 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 salesPublisher
11Call of Duty: Modern WarfareActivision Blizzard (Corp)
22Animal Crossing: New Horizons*Nintendo
33The Last of Us: Part IISony (Corp)
46Madden NFL 21Electronic Arts
55Ghost of TsushimaSony (Corp)
64Final Fantasy VII: RemakeSquare Enix Inc (Corp)
7NEWMarvel’s AvengersSquare Enix Inc (Corp)
87Dragon Ball Z: KakarotBandai Namco Entertainment
98MLB: The Show 20Sony (Corp)
10NEWSuper Mario 3D All-Stars*Nintendo
* Digital sales not included

Best-selling games of the last 12 months

RankLast Month Rank12 Months Ending September 2020 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 salesPublisher
11Call of Duty: Modern WarfareActivision Blizzard (Corp)
22Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen OrderElectronic Arts
35Animal Crossing: New Horizons*Nintendo
43Madden NFL 20Electronic Arts
56The Last of Us: Part IISony (Corp)
614Madden NFL 21Electronic Arts
79Pokémon: Sword*Nintendo
88Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*Nintendo
912Ghost of TsushimaSony (Corp)
1010Luigi’s Mansion 3*Nintendo
* Digital sales not included

Xbox One

RankLast Month RankSeptember 2020 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar salesPublisher
1NEWMarvel’s AvengersSquare Enix Inc (Corp)
21Madden NFL 21Electronic Arts
3NEWTony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2Activision Blizzard (Corp)
4NEWNBA 2K21*Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
52Call of Duty: Modern WarfareActivision Blizzard (Corp)
6NEWStar Wars: SquadronsElectronic Arts
73UFC 4Electronic Arts
8NEWCrash Bandicoot 4: It’s About TimeActivision Blizzard (Corp)
94Forza Horizon 4Microsoft (Corp)
109Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: SiegeUbisoft
* Digital sales not included

PlayStation 4

RankLast Month RankSeptember 2020 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar salesPublisher
1NEWMarvel’s AvengersSquare Enix Inc (Corp)
2NEWTony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2Activision Blizzard (Corp)
31Madden NFL 21Electronic Arts
4NEWNBA 2K21*Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
52Ghost of TsushimaSony (Corp)
64Call of Duty: Modern WarfareActivision Blizzard (Corp)
7NEWCrash Bandicoot 4: It’s About TimeActivision Blizzard (Corp)
8NEWStar Wars: SquadronsElectronic Arts
95The Last of Us: Part IISony (Corp)
106Minecraft: PlayStation 4 EditionMicrosoft (Corp)
* Digital sales not included

Nintendo Switch

RankLast Month RankSeptember 2020 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar salesPublisher
1NEWSuper Mario 3D All-Stars*Nintendo
21Animal Crossing: New Horizons*Nintendo
33Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*Nintendo
42Ring Fit AdventureNintendo
54Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*Nintendo
67New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*Nintendo
76The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*Nintendo
89Super Mario Odyssey*Nintendo
98Super Mario Party*Nintendo
1010Luigi’s Mansion 3*Nintendo

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