U.S. Game Sales Hit $43.4 Billion In 2018, Red Dead Redemption 2 Highest Selling Game of the Year

Published: January 23, 2019 12:14 AM /


super smash bros. ultimate

Last year was a record breaker for the games industry, with the medium breaking $43.4 billion in sales according to The NPD Group. This number is up 18 percent from the year before.

Profits from hardware and peripherals hit $7.5 billion, seeing a 15% increase year-over-year. Software saw an 18% rise and revenue of $35.8 billion. Both numbers are based on an estimated spend “across all channels and categories,” reports Gamesindustry.biz. Otherwise, all of the following figures are based on physical data paired with some digital data.

Yearly spending on hardware, accessories, gaming cards, and software were up a total of 13 percent from the year before, hitting a total of $16.7 billion. December 2018 saw a 2% rise as well, with spending reaching $3.4 billion.

Also, hardware spending in 2018 went up 8% from the previous year, totaling $5.1 billion. These profits were counted from all of the major consoles alongside hardware like the SNES Classic. Unsurprisingly, the Nintendo Switch was the highest-selling console of 2018 in both amounts sold and in profit.

Furthermore, card and accessory spending went up 33% year-over-year, reaching $4.5 billion - an all-time high for this division. December spending for this category also reached a high, with a 29% increase and $1 billion in profit. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller was the most purchased accessory regarding dollar sales as well.

Annual software sales went up 7% and hit $7.1 billion in profit. Interestingly, Red Dead Redemption 2 was the highest selling game of the year, with Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII coming behind it.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate topped sales in December, making it the fifth best selling game of the year despite having been out for less than a month. However, the NPD was only counting physical sales for the title. Ultimate surprisingly even set a new sales record for a platform-exclusive title, beating out the dollar sales of Halo: Reach, the previous record holder.

Nintendo was also the publisher with the highest generated software revenue in 2018.

Finally, The NPD Group provided a list of the Top 10 selling games in December and of the entire year:

Top 10 Selling Games (physical and select digital partners) for December 2018:

  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  2. Red Dead Redemption II
  3. Call of Duty Black Ops 4
  4. Battlefield V
  5. NBA2K19
  6. Mario Kart 8
  7. Madden NFL 19
  8. Super Mario Party
  9. Pokemon Let's Go! Pikachu
  10. Marvel's Spider-Man
Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Party, and Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu did not have digital sales included, however. Additionally, PC sales were not counted for Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, Battlefield V, and Madden NFL 19.

Top 10 Selling Games (physical and select digital partners) for all of 2018:

  1. Red Dead Redemption II
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  3. NBA2K19
  4. Madden NFL 19
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  6. Marvel's Spider-Man
  7. Far Cry 5
  8. God of War
  9. Monster Hunter: World
  10. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
Again, Ultimate’s digital sales were not counted here. Madden and Black Ops IIII are still missing their PC sales as well, reports the NPD Group.

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Max Moeller
| Content Writer

Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and gaming journalist. Feels most at home with a controller and something to learn about. Likes emerging things.