January 26, 2022

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November 2021 NPD: Elusive new-gen consoles drag down industry sales


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A dearth of hardware in the supply chain led to a dip in sales for the video game business in November the United States, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. But sales were down across all categories as software, hardware, and accessories faced a tough competition to a busy 2020 holiday season.

November 2021 Dollar Sales, Millions Nov 2020 Nov 2021 Change
Total Video Game Sales $6,961 $6,279 -10%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR) platforms) $5,213 $5,138 -1%
Video Game Hardware $1,424 $883 -38%
Video Game Accessories $324 $258 -20%
* Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

“November 2021 consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories fell 10% when compared to a year ago, to $6.3 billion,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Year-to-date consumer spending totaled $52.9 billion, an increase of 9% when compared to the same period in 2020.”

Year-to-Date 2021 Dollar Sales, Millions YTD 2020 YTD 2021 Change
Total Video Game Sales $48,493 $52,944 9%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR) platforms) $42,436 $46,004 8%
Video Game Hardware $3,969 $4,764 20%
Video Game Accessories $2,089 $2,175 4%
* Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

Again, hardware was the major downward drag on total revenue in November. Piscatella blames a lack of supply for this misstep.

“November video game hardware dollar sales declined 38% when compared to November 2020, to $883 million,” said Piscatella. “November hardware spending fell to its lowest total since November 2016, $759 million, driven by a lack of available console inventory.”

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Thanks to its more mature manufacturing pipeline, Nintendo’s Switch outsold the competition in both dollars and units. It is the top-selling console so far this year.

Let’s get to the games.

November 2021 NPD: Top 20 best-selling games of the month in the United States

NPD tracks physical sales at retailers, but it also gets digital data directly from publishers. Not every company participates. For example, Nintendo doesn’t share its first-party sales, and Activision Blizzard does not provide its Battle.net sales.

Rank Last Month Rank November 2021 Top 20 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 NEW Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 NEW Battlefield 2042 Electronic Arts
3 NEW Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl* Nintendo
4 NEW Forza Horizon 5 Microsoft (Corp)
5 4 Madden NFL 22 Electronic Arts
6 8 Mario Party Superstars* Nintendo
7 7 Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Square Enix Inc (Corp)
8 6 FIFA 22 Electronic Arts
9 1 Far Cry 6 Ubisoft
10 10 NBA 2K22* Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
11 NEW Just Dance 2022 Ubisoft
12 11 Mario Kart 8* Nintendo
13 17 Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Corp)
14 15 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
15 2 Back 4 Blood Warner Bros. Interactive
16 NEW Shin Megami Tensei V Atlus
17 16 Minecraft Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
18 20 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild* Nintendo
19 14 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Nintendo
20 13 Ghost of Tsushima Sony (Corp)
* Digital sales not included

The top of the monthly sales chart turned out about how everyone expected. Piscatella will have more to say about those games. Beyond the top 5, it’s worth noting that Guardians of the Galaxy finished at No. 7 for the second month in a row. Yet that likely means the game came up short of Square Enix’s expectations.

Metroid Dread, meanwhile, dropped out of the top 20 entirely. You can also see below that it dropped out of the top 10 for Switch games. Piscatella confirmed on Twitter it was No. 11 on that list. Nintendo games are counted as physical only.

Call of Duty: Vanguard

Call of Duty once again topped the charts the month it debuted. But it did not immediately jump to the top of the best-selling games so far this year — something previous Call of Duty games have done.

“Call of Duty: Vanguard debuted as November’s best-selling game, instantly becoming the 2nd best-selling game of 2021 to date — trailing only Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War,” said Piscatella. ‘This is the 14th consecutive year a Call of Duty game has ranked as the best-selling game of its release month.”

Battlefield 2042

“Battlefield 2042 launched as the No. 2 best-selling game of November, ranking as the 6th best-selling game of the year to date,” said Piscatella. “Battlefield 2042 was the 2nd best-selling game of November on both PlayStation and Xbox platforms.”

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 already made headlines for attracting more than 10 million players. And it turns out that was not simply due to Xbox Game Pass. The Playground Games racer built enough buzz to set a new franchise record.

“Forza Horizon 5 set a new Forza franchise launch month sales record — including both Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport titles — while ranking as the 4th best-selling game of November 2021,” said Piscatella. “Forza Horizon 5 was the No. 3 best-selling game on Xbox platforms in the month.”

Shin Megami Tensei V

“Shin Megami Tensei V achieved the highest launch month dollar sales of any Shin Megami Tensei title in history,” said Piscatella. “Shin Megami Tensei V ranked as the 16th best-selling game of November 2021 while also ranking 6th on Nintendo platforms.”

Top 10 best-selling games so far in 2021

Rank Last Month Rank Year-to-Date Ending November 2021 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 1 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 NEW Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
3 2 Madden NFL 22 Electronic Arts
4 3 MLB: The Show 21^ Sony (Corp)
5 4 Resident Evil: Village Capcom USA
6 NEW Battlefield 2042 Electronic Arts
7 5 Super Mario 3D World* Nintendo
8 NEW Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl* Nintendo
9 6 Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Corp)
10 8 Far Cry 6 Ubisoft
* Digital sales not included
^ Xbox Digital sales not included

Top 10 best-selling games of the last 12 months

Rank Last Month Rank 12 Months Ending November 2021 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 1 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 NEW Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
3 4 Madden NFL 22 Electronic Arts
4 3 Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Corp)
5 5 Mario Kart 8* Nintendo
6 2 Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla Ubisoft
7 6 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
8 9 MLB: The Show 21^ Sony (Corp)
9 10 Resident Evil: Village Capcom USA
10 NEW Battlefield 2042 Electronic Arts
* Digital sales not included
^ Xbox Digital sales not included

November 2021 NPD: Top 10 best-selling Nintendo-platform games in the U.S.

Rank Last Month Rank November 2021 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 NEW Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl* Nintendo
2 2 Mario Party Superstars* Nintendo
3 3 Mario Kart 8* Nintendo
4 NEW Just Dance 2022 Ubisoft
5 5 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
6 NEW Shin Megami Tensei V* Atlus
7 6 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild* Nintendo
8 4 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Nintendo
9 10 New Super Mario Bros.* Nintendo
10 22 Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit* Nintendo
* Digital sales not included

November 2021 NPD: Top 10 best-selling PlayStation-platform games in the U.S.

Rank Last Month Rank November 2021 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 NEW Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 NEW Battlefield 2042 Electronic Arts
3 3 Madden NFL 22 Electronic Arts
4 6 Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Square Enix Inc (Corp)
5 10 Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Corp)
6 4 FIFA 22 Electronic Arts
7 1 Far Cry 6 Ubisoft
8 8 NBA 2K22* Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
9 9 Ghost of Tsushima Sony (Corp)
10 2 Back 4 Blood Warner Bros. Interactive
* Digital sales not included

November 2021 NPD: Top 10 best-selling Xbox-platform games in the U.S.

Rank Last Month Rank November 2021 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 NEW Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 NEW Battlefield 2042 Electronic Arts
3 NEW Forza Horizon 5 Microsoft (Corp)
4 3 Madden NFL 22 Electronic Arts
5 1 Far Cry 6 Ubisoft
6 8 Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Square Enix Inc (Corp)
7 4 FIFA 22 Electronic Arts
8 9 NBA 2K22* Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
9 7 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
10 6 NHL 22 Electronic Arts
* Digital sales not included

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