The NPD Group has released its US games industry report, covering digital, retail and e-tail sales for December 2021 and all of last year.
According to the findings—based on the firm’s monthly POS tracking services as well as consumer data from other NPD trackers, monitors and reports—compared to one year ago, consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories dropped by 1 percent to a total of $7.5 billion in December 2021. Consumer spending in all of 2021 increased by 8 percent to a record $60.4 billion.
Spending on content in December 2021 remained roughly the same as December 2020 at $5.7 billion as increased subscription and recurrent spending across PC, console and mobile platforms countered reduced spending on premium games. Spending on hardware and accessories dropped 3 percent and 9 percent, respectively, in December 2021 as compared to the same time in 2020.
Video Game Hardware
Video game hardware sales in December 2021 fell 3 percent to $1.3 billion compared to December 2020. Despite the decline, overall spending on hardware in 2021 increased 14 percent to reach $6.1 billion as compared to the same time in 2020.
Nintendo Switch was the best-selling hardware platform in units sold in December 2021. In terms of dollar sales, Nintendo Switch and Sony Playstation 5 were tied. As for all of 2021, Nintendo Switch led in unit and dollar sales.
Premium Game Tracked Dollar Sales (Excludes Post Launch Spending)
Call of Duty: Vanguard was December’s best-selling game. As a video game franchise, Call of Duty was the best-selling in terms of tracked dollar sales for its 13th consecutive year. In 2021, Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War ranked as the top best-selling games.
Halo: Infinite was both the second best-selling game in December 2021 and the best-selling game on Xbox platforms, according to NPD.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl was the third best-selling game in December 2021 and ranked first on Nintendo platforms for December as well as for 2021. Last year’s dollar sales of Pokémon franchise physical software reached its highest annual total since 2000.
Resident Evil: Village was the eighth best-selling game in December 2021 and franchise dollar sales reached a new record annual high in the US market.
MLB The Show 21 – the best-selling baseball game in the US – was the ninth best-selling game in December 2021. It ranked fifth on Playstation platforms and 18th on Xbox (excluding digital sales).
Of the 20 best-sellers in 2021, seven also ranked among the top 20 in 2020, including Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Mario Kart 8.
Based on mobile spending data from Sensor Tower, NPD found that December 2021 was the third-largest month for spending in the last three years for the US, and the best December ever. Compared to 2020, US consumer spending on mobile games increased by about 14 percent in 2021.
Consumers spent more than $2 billion on mobile games through the App Store and Google Play each month including and between February and December 2021.
Candy Crush Saga, Roblox and Coin Master were among the top US mobile games by revenue in 2021.
Video Game Accessories
Compared to December 2020, video game accessories sales were down 9 percent in December 2021 to reach a total of $493 million. Throughout all of 2021, accessories sales amounted to $2.7 billion – a 2 percent increase year-over-year.
The Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller was the best-selling accessory of December 2021, while the PS5 DualSense Wireless Controller White was the year’s best-seller.