With the ongoing pandemic still affecting spending habits, the US set yet another record for spending on video games hardware and software in 2021.
A new report from GamesIndustry.biz uses data from tracking firm NPD to confirm last year’s US spending on games totaled $60.4 billion. That’s an 8% increase over last year, with 85% of that coming from software alone. Mobile games, digital downloads, DLC, cloud gaming, and subscription pass spending (such as Game Pass) totaled $51.7 billion in 2021.
Hardware sales grew faster than software with a 14% increase compared to sales in 2020. The Nintendo Switch once again led the charge, outpacing both the Xbox Series X|S and the PlayStation 5 as total console sales hit $6 billion.
Call of Duty once again tops the sales chart for the 13th year in a row. Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War took first and second spots, respectively, while Madden NFL 22 came in third. Pokemon came in fourth thanks to the Diamond and Pearl remakes, and Battlefield 2042 came in fifth place despite abysmal reviews and players demanding refunds.
Here are the top 20 games of 2021 in terms of sales. Note that several games don’t include digital sales due to a lack of data, which might change the rankings somewhat. MLB: The Show 21 does not include Xbox digital sales.
- Call of Duty: Vanguard (Activision Blizzard)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War (Activision Blizzard)
- Madden NFL 22 (EA)
- Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl (Nintendo)
- Battlefield 2042 (EA)
- Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Sony)
- Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo)
- Resident Evil: Village (Capcom)
- MLB: The Show 21 (Sony)
- Super Mario 3D World (Nintendo)
- Far Cry 6 (Ubisoft)
- FIFA 22 (EA)
- Minecraft (Microsoft)
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo)
- NBA 2K22 (2K)
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla (Ubisoft)
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Nintendo)
- Back 4 Blood (Warner Bros)
- Mortal Kombat 11 (Warner Bros)
- Forza Horizon 5 (Microsoft)
Genshin Impact, a game where mobile spending alone hit $2 billion and half the world can’t stop tweeting about, is strangely absent from this list. US gamers must have something against gacha games.
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