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US consumers spent record amounts on video games in 2020, NPD reports

US consumers spent record amounts on video games in 2020, NPD reports


The biggest year for gaming hardware in almost a decade

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Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Spending on video games set a new record of $56.9 billion in 2020 in the US, according to a new NPD Group report, a 27 percent increase compared to 2019. Spending on hardware hit its highest level since 2011 at $5.3 billion, a 35 percent increase compared to 2019. NPD classifies video game spending as money spent at retail and digital storefronts on “video game hardware, content, and accessories.”

Although last year saw the release of the PS5 and new Xbox consoles, it was Nintendo’s Switch that took the crown as the bestselling platform over the course of the year. It was number one in terms of both dollar sales and units sold. The PS5 was the second bestselling console in terms of dollar sales, while the PS4 was in second place in terms of units sold.

Nintendo was similarly dominant in software, publishing 10 out of the 20 bestselling games of the year. However, the top two bestselling games were both Call of Duty, with Black Ops: Cold War in first place and 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in second place. NPD’s Mat Piscatella notes that the Call of Duty franchise has now been the bestselling gaming franchise in the US for a record 12 years straight. 

It shouldn’t be surprising that people spent a lot of money on a primarily in-home form of entertainment in the same year as a global pandemic, especially when it coincided with new consoles launching. The surge in video game spending was apparent as early as July, when NPD Group reported that US video game spending hit a 10-year high in June.