October 2019 Edition: Showing September 2019 Data

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Top 10 Selling Games (Physical & Digital)

 

by NPD's Mat Piscatella

NBA 2K20 launches as the best-selling game of 2019, Borderlands 3 sets a new franchise launch month sales record, and Switch leads hardware (again). Here are all the U.S. Video Game market highlights from The NPD Group!

Madden NFL 20 Goes Back to Back, Winning August Promo Rankings
By Corey Evans

NBA 2K20 had 127 campaigns during September. There were 19 brick-and-mortar campaigns, and 13 email campaigns. This is the 2nd-most email campaigns during a launch month this year, behind The Division 2, which had 22.

37 campaigns, nearly 30% of the total, promoted the upgrade Legend Edition. These campaigns can be viewed in Retail Tracker using the Bonus Content Edition callout filter.

World of Warcraft Classic shows you CAN go home again

By Leandro Foruria

This month the biggest title on Twitch isn’t the hot new sensation. It’s not a new Battle Royale, MOBA, or anything chasing genre trends. What the title is chasing is a trend we see brands chasing across all entertainment: nostalgia.

World of Warcraft Classic launched on August 26th and introduced several servers for WoW players (which still require the same $15 monthly subscription) that roll the game back before the first expansion. While the title may make you think this is WoW in its original launch state, it’s actually rolled back to patch 1.12, giving players some quality of life enhancements that were added to the game post-launch. The launch of this option follows years of fan demand for a classic, “vanilla” version of World of Warcraft and several unofficial attempts by third parties to host such servers that inevitably were shut down. 

World of Warcraft Classic launched towards the end of August, causing World of Warcraft’s viewership to spike from 69K peak viewers on Twitch the week before, to 1M peak viewers on launch. The swarm of viewers began trending downwards immediately and was below 500K by the end of the week, but this decline was at a much slower pace than other new titles that had viewership taper off on Twitch during September. Even towards the end of September, a month after being released, WoW Classic still managed to outperform the usual suspects on some days, with higher peak viewers than League of Legends or Fortnite on Twitch. In fact, though WoW Classic’s performance towards the end of September is close to being back to its baseline, it’s still the top performer when looking at total daily peak viewers for the month on Twitch. One thing to note, this performance hasn’t carried over to YouTube, where Minecraft and Fortnite are still king, but new, narrative-driven games like Borderlands 3, Dark Pictures: Man of Medan, and Untitled Goose Game have made a splash this month.

So, in the streaming world of video games, WoW Classic has had a big impact in September, and it’s not a one-off trend. Throughout this year, we’ve seen a lot of Twitch attention on remakes and popular speedruns of old games. Even within Blizzard, WoW Classic is neither the first nor last time they will have reached into their past, with StarCraft: Remastered releasing in 2017, and Warcraft III: Reforged scheduled for release in the near future. Without a doubt, Blizzard is yet another company that’s found a way to listen to fan demand, embrace the past, and profit from it. 

Top 5 Social Impressions

Overall
September 2019 tracked spending across video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards totaled $1,278 million, down 8 percent when compared to a year ago. Declines were experienced across all categories of spend.
 
Year-to-date spending across tracked video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards has fallen 6 percent when compared to 2018, to $8.3 billion. Declines in hardware spending have driven the decrease.

 
Software (All notes refer to dollar sales)

 
Dollar sales of tracked video game software declined 4 percent in September versus a year ago, to $732 million.  Growth in Switch and Xbox One software sales could not offset declines on PlayStation 4, which were driven by the comparable September 2018 release of Marvel's Spider-Man.
 
Year-to-date dollar sales of tracked video game software are flat at $3.9 billion. Gains in sales of Nintendo Switch software have been offset by declines across all other platforms.
 
NBA 2K20 debuts as the best-selling game of September 2019, and instantly becomes the best-selling game of 2019 year-to-date.  NBA 2K20 launch month sales were the highest for any Sports game in history, exceeding sales of the previous record holder, NBA 2K19.
 
The NBA 2K franchise surpasses Guitar Hero to now rank as the 6th biggest video game franchise in tracked history (full game dollar sales).  
 
Borderlands 3 set a new franchise launch month sales record, debuting as the second best-selling game of September. Borderlands 3 currently ranks as the third best-selling game of the year.
 

Hardware
 
Hardware spending in September 2019 fell 22 percent when compared to a year ago, to $240 million.  Year-to-date hardware spending has declined 21 percent versus year ago, to $1.9 billion.  Nintendo Switch is the only platform with sales gains both in September as well as year-to-date.
 
Nintendo Switch was again the best-selling hardware platform of September and remains the best-selling platform of 2019.
 

Accessories & Game Cards
 
Total September 2019 spending on accessories and game cards fell 7 percent when compared to a year ago, to $306 million. Year-to-date sales of Accessories and Game Cards have fallen 2 percent when compared to a year ago, to $2.6 billion.
 
Interactive gaming toy dollar sales jumped more than eight times when compared to September 2018, driven by growth of Smash Bros. Series 1 Amiibo and Link's Awakening Series 1 Amiibo.

All data collected from GamePulse.

 

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