US Video Game Industry Just Had Its Best May Since 2008; Top 20 Best-Selling Games Announced

With more and more people staying home during COVID-19 lockdowns, spending on video games is jumping to heights not seen in more than a decade. The NPD Group has released its report for US video game industry sales in May, and they were huge.

Total spending on video games in the US during May 2020–covering hardware, games, and accessories–reached $977 million. That is up 52 percent compared to May 2019. According to the NPD, May 2020’s $977 million was the highest for a May month since May 2008 ($1.2 billion).

Year-to-date, total spending on video games in 2020 reached $5.5 billion, which is up 18 percent. This represented the highest year-to-date spending since 2011 ($5.7 billion).

Software sales specifically reached $438 million for May 2020, which is up 67 percent year-over-year, and it’s the highest since May 2010 ($487 million).

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was the No. 1 best-selling game of May 2020. The game remains the top-selling game of 2020 to date, and the highest-selling game for the 12-month period ended May 2020. Rockstar’s endlessly popular Grand Theft Auto V, which was just announced for PS5 and Xbox Series X, jumped up the charts to land at No. 2 for May 2020. Animal Crossing: New Horizons, NBA 2K20, and Mortal Kombat 11 rounded up the top five best-sellers for May 2020.

You can see the full Top 20 sales chart below. The report includes physical and digital sales, except for Nintendo’s digital sales and titles sold on the Eshop.

None of May 2020’s new releases made it into the top 10. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition was the highest-ranking new release, coming in at No. 14. But since this is a Switch exclusive, its actual sales total was likely higher.

Moving to hardware, total spending rose 56 percent to $235 million. May 2020’s numbers were the best for a May month since May 2010 ($239 million). The Nintendo Switch was the highest-selling home console of May 2020 in terms of both dollar and unit sales.

The Nintendo Switch’s unit sales in May 2020 were the highest for a single platform during a May month since May 2009, when the Nintendo DS led the way.

Spending on accessories and game cards for May 2020 reached $304 million, which was up 32 percent. Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Series 2 controller was the best-selling accessory of May 2020 and for the year to date.

The video game industry–in the US and globally–is expected to see a jolt in sales later this year when the PS5 and Xbox Series X launch this holiday season.

Top 20 Best-Selling Games Of May 2020 (US Only):

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Grand Theft Auto V
  3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  4. NBA 2K20
  5. Mortal Kombat 11
  6. Red Dead Redemption II
  7. Minecraft*
  8. Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  9. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  10. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  11. Madden NFL 20
  12. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe*
  13. Need for Speed Heat
  14. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition*
  15. Minecraft Dungeons*
  16. Saints Row: The Third Remastered
  17. MLB The Show 20
  18. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  19. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  20. FIFA 20

*Digital sales on Nintendo Eshop not included

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