May 2020 did not have any breakout new releases, but U.S. video game fans opened up their wallets regardless, according to industry-tracking firm the NPD Group. Spending hit $977 million for hardware, full game sales, and accessories. Perennial favorites like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Grand Theft Auto V led the surge. Here are the full results:

May 2020 Dollar Sales, Millions May ’19 May ’20 CHG
Total Video Game Sales $642 $977 52%
Video Game Hardware $150 $235 56%
Video Game Software (Physical and Full Game Digital Formats from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for DLP Participants) $262 $438 67%
Video Game Accessories & Game Cards $230 $304 32%

“May 2020 tracked spending across video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards totaled $977 million, 52% higher when compared to a year ago,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “This is the highest tracked spend for a May month since the $1.2 billion achieved in May 2008.”

May 2008 hit those numbers on the strength of Grand Theft Auto IV and Mario Kart Wii, which both debuted the month before. May 2020 is also relying on a GTA, but this one debuted in 2013.

Here are the results for this year so far:

2020 Year-to-Date Dollar Sales, Millions 2019 YTD 2020 YTD CHG
Total Video Game Sales $4,662 $5,480 18%
Video Game Hardware $1,072 $1,431 34%
Video Game Software (Physical and Full Game Digital Formats from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for DLP Participants) $2,167 $2,456 13%
Video Game Accessories & Game Cards $1,424 $1,593 12%

“Year-to-date tracked spending … reached $5.5 billion — increasing 18% when compared to a year ago,” said Piscatella. “This is the highest total for the year-to-date period since 2011’s $5.7 billion.”

May 2020 NPD: Top 20 best-selling games of the month in the U.S.

NPD tracks physical sales at retailers, but it also gets digital data directly from publishers. But not every company participates. For example, Nintendo doesn’t share its first-party digital sales, and Activision Blizzard does not provide its Battle.net sales. This chart also does not include microtransactions, subscriptions, or anything beyond full-game sales. With those caveats in mind, it is best to think of this as a very useful snapshot of a much more dynamic industry.

These charts are sorted by dollar sales — not number of units sold.

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Grand Theft Auto V
  3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  4. NBA 2K20
  5. Mortal Kombat 11
  6. Red Dead Redemption II
  7. Minecraft*
  8. Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  9. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  10. Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order
  11. Madden NFL 20 [EA Sports]
  12. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  13. Need for Speed: Heat
  14. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition*
  15. Minecraft Dungeons*
  16. Saints Row: The Third Remastered
  17. MLB: The Show 20
  18. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  19. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  20. FIFA 20 [EA Sports]

*Digital sales not included

The ongoing success of Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Animal Crossing continues to indicate high consumer interest in at-home entertainment. The COVID-19 pandemic is still forcing most people to shelter-in-place (and it will for the months ahead). And so the people purchasing new hardware right now are not necessarily people looking for the hottest new releases. Instead, they are consumers who sat out the current generation up to this point.

To these gaming fans, a dearth of exciting fresh releases doesn’t matter. They are finally going to give Call of Duty, Minecraft, or Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order a try.

“No new releases ranked among the top 10 best-selling games of the month,” said Piscatella. “The highest-ranking new release was Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, which placed at No. 14 on the all-platforms chart.”

But spending was up specifically because of who is out shopping for games right now.

“Dollar sales of tracked video game software gained 67% in May compared to a year ago, to $438 million,” said Piscatella. “This is the highest total achieved since the $487 million reached in May 2010. Year-to-date sales of tracked Video Game Software total $2.5 billion — 13% higher when compared to a year ago.”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare returns to the top of the chart as May’s best-selling title,” said Piscatella. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare remains the best-selling game of 2020 year-to-date, as well as for the 12-month period ending May 2020.”

Mortal Kombat 11

“Mortal Kombat 11 is the fifth best-selling game of May 2020,” said Piscatella. “It is the highest the title has ranked on the monthly chart since it was the third best-selling game of June 2019. Mortal Kombat 11 is currently the fifth best-selling fighting game in U.S. history.”

Top 10 best-selling games so far this year

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  3. Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  4. Grand Theft Auto V
  5. NBA 2K20
  6. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
  7. MLB: The Show 20
  8. Resident Evil 3
  9. Madden NFL 20 [EA Sports]
  10. Red Dead Redemption II

Top 10 best-selling games of the last 12 months

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. NBA 2K20
  3. Madden NFL 20 [EA Sports]
  4. Borderlands 3
  5. Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  8. FIFA 20 [EA Sports]
  9. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  10. Pokémon: Sword*

May 2020: Top 10 best-selling Xbox One games

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Grand Theft Auto V
  3. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  4. Minecraft Dungeons
  5. Mortal Kombat 11
  6. Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order
  7. NBA 2K20
  8. Saints Row: The Third Remastered
  9. Madden NFL 20 [EA Sports]
  10. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: Remastered

May 2020: Top 10 best-selling PlayStation 4 games

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Grand Theft Auto V
  3. Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  4. NBA 2K20
  5. Mortal Kombat 11
  6. Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition
  7. MLB: The Show 20
  8. Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order
  9. Madden NFL 20 [EA Sports]
  10. Red Dead Redemption II

May 2020: Top 10 best-selling Nintendo Switch games

  1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  2. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  3. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition*
  4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  6. Just Dance 2020
  7. Pokémon: Sword*
  8. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*
  9. Luigi’s Mansion 3*
  10. Super Mario Odyssey*

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