In spite of an uncertain economy, US video game sales remain strong

Brian Heater

May marked another extremely strong month for gaming sales, according to the latest figures from NPD. Between software, hardware, accessories and game cards, Americans spent around $977 million. That’s a 57% jump since the year prior and the highest it’s been for the month since 2008, when the country was feeling the strain of the Great Recession.

All of this is made more remarkable by the fact that the United States has been struggling with COVID-19-related pains for months now. This week, another 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment, bringing the total number to 44.2 million since the beginning of shutdowns. But as countless other venues for non-essential spending have suffered, gaming has thrived.

US video game sales have record quarter as consumers stay at home


It’s clear that games are how Americans are choosing to spend whatever sort of disposable income they might have, as they’re stuck at home, away from other humans. And that spending has continued for a few months now, even after Microsoft and Sony have begun hyping their next-generation consoles — both due at at the end of the year.

That, perhaps, is part of why Nintendo continued to dominate console sales with the Switch, in spite of hardware shortages. Animal Crossing: New Horizons remained the top-selling title for the console (and third over all), owing to the online cult it has amassed through social-first gameplay. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Grand Theft Auto V took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.