Video games sales soar to new April record amid coronavirus lockdowns

Video game sales continue to skyrocket with people all over the world staying home to follow social distancing requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic. April was a record year for game sales, according to analyst company the NPD Group.

Game sales were up 55% compared to April 2019, reaching a total of $662 million, according to NPD Group’s latest report, with Final Fantasy VII Remake taking the spot as April’s top-selling game. This brought it up to the third highest-selling game of 2020 so far and the best-selling gaming on the PlayStation 4 this year.

It’s followed by the long-running favorite Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and this spring’s massive hit, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which was the top seller for March.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has remained among the top-selling titles since its release in October 2019 making it the best seller of 2020 so far and of the last 12 months. Meanwhile, Animal Crossing: New Horizons had a record launch for its exclusive Switch platform and quickly outpaced its predecessors.

Serving as a surprise standout is Just Dance 2020, a yearly franchise that hasn’t often gained much attention since it debuted in 2009 among the advent of motion-controlled play for the Wii and later the Xbox Kinect. However, Just Dance 2020 is climbing the ranks, and it’s the fast-selling entry since Just Dance 2014.

Call of Duty has another game among April top sellers with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: Remastered coming in as the seventh-highest title. The two franchise top performers are joined by 2015’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III on the list of the Xbox One’s top 10 for April.

Game sales for 2020 have already topped $2 billion — and that’s for software sales alone. That whopping figure puts the industry sales 6% higher than this time last year. And while 6% might not immediately translate to significant growth, this year’s quiet release slate, already mired by delays and disruption caused by the coronavirus, combined with Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One end of lifecycle lull makes just about any increase notable.

People are also buying more gaming hardware than compared to this time last year. NPD’s Group’s report states hardware spending for April grew by a massive 163% compared to 2019, from $160 million to $420 million. The best-selling platform was the Nintendo Switch, which continues to hold onto its top spot as the Sony and Microsoft’s competitors age out and prepare for the next generation to release later this year. Still, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One also did well, with sales of the three consoles increasing by more than 160% over last year.

NPD Group uses data from both physical sales and digital downloads of games.

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