×

Nintendo Switch Is 2018’s Best Selling Platform, Says NPD Group

The Nintendo Switch ended 2018 as the year’s best selling hardware platform both in unit sales and in dollars, according to an analysis of the latest ESA report from NPD’s video games industry analyst Mat Piscatella.

In 2018, the Nintendo Switch generated the highest hardware sales for December since the release of the Nintendo Wii almost a decade prior in 2009. The Switch platform also achieved the highest December unit sales for a single platform since December 2010. Both annual unit and dollar sales of the Nintendo Switch were the highest annual total for any platform since the PlayStation 4 in 2015, the report reads.

“Exceeded every expectation I had,” tweets Piscatella, speaking on the release of “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” which launched on the Nintendo Switch on Dec. 7 of last year. “[B]est-selling exclusive launch month in history. The story of Switch may just be getting started. ‘Smash’ pushed Switch to highest sales in the year, amazing performance.”

“Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” was the best selling game of December 2018, with physical software sales exceeding those of the previous sales heavyweight “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” by over 70 percent.

But “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” was only the fifth best selling game of 2018.

By contrast, “Red Dead Redemption 2” is the best selling game of 2018, according to the data provided by the ESA. “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” is the second best selling game of 2018 and the third best selling game of December 2018. “NBA 2K19” is the third best selling game of last year, and 2018’s best selling sports title.

“Mario Kart 8” finished the year as the second best selling racing game of all time, behind “Mario Kart Wii” in lifetime sales. In sixth place is “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” the highest placement for a superhero game since “Spider-Man: The Movie 2” took fifth best selling game of 2004.

It is worth noting digital sales aren’t currently being tracked by The NPD Group.

“The race to the best-seller position in Software was very close,” Piscatella continues. “‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ digital sales on PC are not currently tracked by The NPD Group and made all the difference to the rankings.”

Likewise, there is no tracking of “Fortnite” in this report. However its impact is still visible, says Piscatella.

“But really, the real story of 2018 is ‘Fortnite’. Its impact across Hardware, Accessories and Game Cards cannot be overstated. And even though we don’t track ‘Fortnite’ software in this tracking, its impact on Software overall was absolutely massive and has changed the industry.”

Last year hardware spending saw an increase of 8% to $5.1 billion, driven primarily by sales of PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One which all experienced year-on-year gains.

Total spending on Accessories and Game Cards grew by 29 percent during that December month, reaching a record high of $1 billion. Annual spending here increased 33 percent to $4.5 billion, an all-time high driven primarily by sales of gamepads, headsets, and headphones.

“2019 could be a more bumpy year,” Piscatella concludes. “We’re closer to end of life than beginning with PS4 and Xbox One, so Switch becomes critical to the overall market this year, as we transition towards a new gen. 2018 was undeniably a great growth year overall, shouldn’t expect it to continue.”

Annual spending across game hardware, software, accessories and game games saw an increase In 2018 of 13% to $16.7 billion, compared to the previous year. This is the highest annual consumer spend total since the $17.4 billion generated in 2011.

Holiday sales of video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards saw an increase of 2% to $3.4 billion in December 2018, compared to the previous year. This is the highest total consumer spend for a December month since 2015.

Annual sales of console, portable, and PC software reached $7.1 billion in 2018, rising by 7% compared to the year prior – the highest annual total for software spending since the $7.5 billion seen in 2012.

More Gaming

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    Epic Games Suing Organizers of Disastrous 'Fortnite' Festival

    Epic Games is suing the organizers behind a U.K. “Fortnite” festival that happened over the weekend, according to Epic Games. Fortnite Live Norwich was billed as the “Fortnite” event of the year. The two-day festival advertised outdoor laser tag, a climbing wall, archery, and more. Tickets started at £12, with wristbands for unlimited access going [...]

  • Google Hosts GDC Keynote in Which

    Google Hosting GDC Keynote in Which 'All Will be Revealed'

    Google is hosting a keynote at this year’s Game Developers Conference that promises to reveal all, according to an invite sent out to press including Variety. While Google has been attending GDC and hosting events at the annual gathering since at least 2010, this appears to be the first time the company is holding a [...]

  • 'Fortnite' Usurped by 'PUBG Mobile' in

    'Fortnite' on App Store Usurped by 'PUBG Mobile' in January

    Player spending in “PUBG Mobile” overtook the amount spent in the iOS version of “Fortnite” last month for the first time, according to Sensor Tower. Global spending in “PUBG Mobile” was up 24% from December, with players spending an estimated $45.2 million on the App Store and Google Play versions of the game. “Fortnite” on [...]

  • 'Anthem' Launch Day Patch to Fix

    'Anthem' Launch Day Patch to Fix High Level Concerns

    EA revealed details of a launch day patch for “Anthem” meant to address major issues present in the game in its current early access status on Monday. The full patch notes are extensive, but the high level fixes, if successful, could resolve many of the major issues that are hindering players’ experience with the action title. [...]

  • DF-10193 – L-R: Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor),

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Leads MPSE Golden Reel Awards for Sound Editing

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed up love from Cinema Audio Society sound mixers with a pair of honors at the Motion Picture Sound Editors’ 66th annual Golden Reel Awards Sunday night. The musical biopic scored wins for dialogue and ADR as well as sound editing in a musical. The film is nominated for sound editing at the Oscars [...]

  • Netmarble Operating Profit Nearly Halved in

    Netmarble Operating Profit Nearly Halved in 2018

    Korea’s foremost mobile game publisher Netmarble experienced a 43.5% decrease in operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2018, a 59% drop year-over-year, the company announced in its financial report. While Netmarble’s releases “Lineage 2 Revolution,” “Marvel Future Fight,” “Marvel Contest of Champions,” and “Cookie Jam” have steadily performed in North American and Japanese markets [...]

  • The Razer Game Store Is Closing

    Razer Game Store Closing Feb. 28, Less Than Year After Launch

    The Razer Game Store will close on February 28 at 1am PST, the company announced in a blog post. This comes less than a year after its launch last April. The shutdown is part of “the company’s realignment plans,” according to Razer. “It has been a privilege for us to recommend and deliver great digital [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content