While all gaming hardware saw a significant jump in sales during the pandemic, that has come to an end for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. These aging consoles were already on the way out, and U.S. consumers are once again bypassing them in favor of the Switch. Nintendo’s hybrid home/handheld device launched in 2017, and it’s in its prime. It’s also catching on more with wider audiences that are showing up for Animal Crossing: New Horizons or for a number of other family-friendly releases. That led Switch to outsell its competition once again in July, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group.
“Nintendo Switch was once again the best-selling hardware platform of both July and 2020 year-to-date in unit and dollar sales,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Hardware spending declined 2% in July 2020 when compared to a year ago, to $166 million. Year-to-date spending has increased 22% compared to a year ago, to $1.8 billion.”
PS4 and Xbox One are both at a point where most people who want one already have one. But even if you are thinking about picking one up, it’s probably better to save your money and get the upcoming PS5 or Xbox Series X instead.
Accessory spending continues to prove the high demand for gaming
But even if hardware was down slightly, that shouldn’t make you think that demand for gaming-related goods is softening. Consumers continue to look for ways to engage with games, and their record spending on accessories is proof of that.
“Spending on accessories reached a July record $170 million, increasing 34% when compared to a year ago,” Piscatella said. “Gamepad and headset/headphone spending also set new July record highs.”
U.S. gamers were already spending a lot on gamepads and headsets to play games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone. But with people stuck at home due to COVID-19, gamepads and headsets became even more important. Gamers need them to play with family in their homes or to communicate with friends also stuck inside.
“Year-to-date accessory spending was 24% higher than a year ago, at an all-time high of $1.3 billion,” Piscatella said. “Gamepad, headset/headphone, and steering wheels have each achieved record high spending in the period.”
Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller is still the best-selling accessory of the year as well as of July.