A report released by The NPD Group earlier today states that video game spending has slightly increased from this time last year. According to the report, across the video game industry, which includes hardware, accessories, mobile and subscription services, and both digital and physical console content, the US has spent $9.18 billion in the third quarter alone (July-September). According to NPD, this is an increase of about 1 percent from the same time last year.
The NPD Group attributes the slight growth in the overall market to the surge of the digital side of the industry. “Double-digit percentage gains were seen across digital console content, mobile and subscription spending,” reads the report. While digital gaming is raking in the big bucks, the organization has found that “hardware, accessories, physical console content and digital PC content” are not doing as well. The lack of growth from these sectors of the market has almost negated the growth of the other categories. Despite the lackluster performance of the physical side of things, “Year-to-date (Jan. – Sept.) consumer spending has also increased by 1 percent, to $27.9 billion.”
The NPD also touched upon which games in the third quarter made the biggest splash in the market. “Games such as Borderlands 3, Candy Crush Saga, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto V, Madden NFL 20, Minecraft, NBA 2K20, and Pokémon Go were among the best-performing titles of the third quarter.” It is worth noting that only a handful of the games mentioned can be considered “new” games, while the others are games that still garner a large player base, despite some of them being out for years now. In the case of Minecraft, the game has been out for over 10 years and still has a modest following of 112 million monthly players.
Mat Piscatella, a games industry analyst for NPD, says, “Thanks to growth in video game content spending across mobile and subscription services, the U.S. video game market has continued to grow, despite cyclical challenges and tough comparable sales from last year.” He attributes the growth in this sector of the industry to “live service games that are building consistent engagement ties with consumers.”
While the Nintendo Switch is, by all measures, performing extremely well both in the US and worldwide, the console’s sales were not enough to bolster the hardware sector in the third quarter. The report states that the overall hardware market has dropped 22 percent for the quarter, and 23 percent year-to-date. Hardware accessories, such as controllers and headsets also saw both a third-quarter and year-to-date drop of 3 percent. “Despite the year-to-date decline, video game accessory spending has reached its third highest total in history, trailing only the first three quarter totals of 2008 and 2018,” reads the report.