×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Arc System Works and WayForward Revive

    Arc System Works and WayForward Revive Classic 'River City' IP

    Notable fighting game developer Arc System Works is teaming up with “Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse” developer WayForward to create a brand-new game based on the classic “River City” intellectual property, they announced on Friday. The new project is called “River City Girls.” While the two studios won’t release full details about the project until [...]

  • Panthers Schedule Promo References a Slew

    Panthers Schedule Promo References a Slew of Video Games

    The Carolina Panthers’ released its 2019 schedule promotion video on Wednesday, which makes callbacks to classic games, like “Pitfall” and “Oregon Trail” among other games, shared via YouTube. The Carolina Panthers are a professional football team in the National Football League (NFL). The team is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The promo video shows various [...]

  • Gearbox CEO Defends Epic Games Store

    Gearbox CEO Defends Epic Games Store and 'Borderlands 3' Exclusivity

    Earlier this month, developer Gearbox Software revealed the PC version of its anticipated co-op shooter “Borderlands 3” is coming exclusively to the Epic Games Store. This created some blowback from fans who prefer Valve’s digital storefront Steam. Gearbox founder and CEO Randy Pitchford defending the decision in a lengthy Twitter thread on Saturday (helpfully recreated [...]

  • Inside the Music of Netflix's 'Ingress:

    Inside the Music of Netflix's 'Ingress: The Animation' (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Ingress: The Animation” hit last fall in Japan, but the global release doesn’t hit Netflix until April 30, fortunately, it’s bringing a little something new to the show based on Niantic’s other popular video game. The global version of the show will feature a new musical score created by Jacob Yoffee (“Free Meek,” “Andi Mack”). [...]

  • Vic Mignogna

    Vic Mignogna Sues Funimation, Other Voice Actors for Defamation

    Vic Mignogna, known for voicing Broly in the “Dragon Ball” series of games, films, and tv shows, filed a lawsuit claiming defamation and other charges against Funimation and other voice actors on Thursday, according to public court documents. Fellow Funimation voice actors Monica Rial and Jamie Marchi, along with Rial’s fiance Ronald Toye, are also [...]

  • South Korea's FTC Reviewing In-Game Purchase

    South Korea's FTC Reviewing In-Game Purchase Clauses

    The Fair Trade Commission in South Korea will conduct a review of game companies’ consumer practices and thus contacted 10 companies, including Nexon, Blizzard, and Riot Games, on Friday, according to The Korea Herald. The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is concerned with in-game purchases in PC and mobile games. In particular, one concern is the [...]

  • 'Pokémon Go' Dev Niantic Accepting City

    'Pokémon Go' Dev Niantic Accepting City Submissions for Live Events

    Fans of games like “Pokémon Go” and “Ingress Prime” can now nominate their favorite cities to potentially host a live event in 2020, developer Niantic announced on Thursday. Submissions are now open on Niantic’s website. Anyone can submit an official city nomination between now and Oct. 1, including players, parks departments, tourism boards, and local [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content