The numbers are finally in, and the NPD Group has revealed how well video games fared in December and 2018 in total. All in all, the U.S. video game industry hit an astonishing and record breaking $43.4 billion in sales across hardware, software, and accessories over the course of the year. Thanks to a massive holiday season, the Nintendo Switch usurped the PlayStation 4 as the best selling console of the year in both units sold and dollar sales.
The best selling game for each console were Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Nintendo Switch, Red Dead Redemption II on PlayStation 4, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on Xbox One. After fighting for dominance in October and November, Red Dead Redemption II beat out Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 as the best selling game of the year.
The top 10 best selling games for the entirety of 2018 are as followed:
- Red Dead Redemption II
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
- NBA 2k19
- Madden NFL 19
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Marvel’s Spider-Man
- Far Cry 5
- God of War
- Monster Hunter: World
- Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
After becoming the fastest selling Nintendo Switch title in history, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate dominated the month of December. The game immediately became the fifth best selling game of the year. The game destroyed the record for highest launch month dollar sales for the series by beating Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s numbers by over 70 percent. This catapulted the game to become the best selling console exclusive for its first month in video game history surpassing the former record holder Xbox 360’s Halo: Reach.
Behind Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, placed the two best selling games of the year with Red Dead Redemption II at second and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 at third. NBA 2k19, which placed fifth in December, was the best selling sports of the year. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe returned to the top 10 in December and placed sixth. Impressively, the game is now the second best selling racing game in history only behind Mario Kart Wii in overall dollar sales. Marvel’s Spider-Man rounds out the top 10 for December after having a highly successful time since it released.
Overall, spending for December reached $3.4 billion; a two percent increase year over year. Thanks to a massively successful year with titles such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and the Pokemon: Let’s Go games, Nintendo was the highest software revenue generating publisher of the year for the first time since 2009. With 2019 just starting, it will be interesting to see how the U.S. video game industry continues to grow.