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Consumers in the United States spent $796 million on gaming-related products in August, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. That’s up from same period last year. In particular, August was a strong month for the perennial hit Madden NFL 19. The PC port of Monster Hunter: World also did well. And the ongoing powerhouses of Rainbow Six: Siege and Grand Theft Auto V were as strong as ever.

“August 2018 spending across video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards grew 26 percent when compared to a year ago, to $796 million,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Growth was achieved across all categories of spending.”

Here are the numbers for August:

  • Total: $796 million (up 26 percent from $634 million in August 2017)
  • Hardware: $214 million (up 28 percent from $168 million)
  • PC and console software: $330 (up 16 percent from $285 million)
  • Accessories: $251 million (up 39 percent from $181 million)

Here’s how 2018 is comparing so far to 2017 in terms of year-to-date dollar sales:


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  • Total: $7.539 billion (up 17 percent from $6.428 billion in 2017 year to date)
  • Hardware: $2.117 billion (up 22 percent from $1.740 billion)
  • PC and console software: $3.139 billion (up 6 percent from $2.972 billion)
  • Accessories: $2.284 billion (up 33 percent from $1.716 billion)

Let’s do the software charts.

Software chart

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 sales, and Activision Blizzard does not provide its sales.

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

Top 20 best selling games of August

  1. Madden NFL 19**
  2. Monster Hunter: World
  3. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  4. Grand Theft Auto V
  5. Mario Kart 8*
  6. Naruto To Boruto: Shinobi Striker
  7. God of War
  8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  9. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  10. Super Mario Odyssey*
  11. Minecraft
  12. Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy
  13. Far Cry 5
  14. Monster Hunter: Generations Ultimate
  15. Call of Duty: WWII
  16. Mario Tennis Aces*
  17. Overwatch**
  18. Lego The Incredibles
  19. We Happy Few*
  20. The Crew 2

*No digital sales
**No PC digital sales

Analyzing the sales

Madden NFL 19

Now, that’s an interesting sales chart. It’s not surprising that Madden NFL 19 topped August. It has done that consistently for decades now.

“Since 2000, Madden NFL Football has been the best-selling game of August every year, with the exceptions of 2011 and 2012, when Madden NFL launched in the September tracking period,” said Piscatella.

But what’s different is that this is the fastest-selling Madden NFL game in years.

“Madden NFL 19 was the best-selling game of August 2018,” said Piscatella. “Launch month sales of Madden NFL 19 are the highest achieved since the launch of Madden NFL 13.”

Monster Hunter World and Rainbow Six: Siege

After Madden, the list gets extra fascinating. Monster Hunter: World, which debuted earlier this year, has jumped all the way back up to No. 2. That leap is due to the PC port. It launched August 9, and it is having unprecedented success for a Japanese-developed game on Steam.

In third, we have Rainbow Six: Siege, which had a combination of sales and the promise of incoming updates. The Grim Sky season, which introduced new operators, didn’t launch until September 4. But new players were treating that as a jumping-on point. Ubisoft also benefited from some other promotions and esports, according to Piscatella.

“Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege climbed the chart from the ninth-ranked position in July to become the third best-selling game of August,” he explained. “Performance was driven by the free play period that ran August 16-to-20 in conjunction with the Six Major Paris 2018 esports tournament and associated retail and digital promotion.”

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V, meanwhile, is just one massive jumping-on point. It debuted in 2013, but it continues to outsell most new games by a wide margin thanks to the popularity of Grand Theft Auto Online.

“GTA V ranked as the fourth best-selling game of August 2018 and is now the fifth best-selling title of 2018 year to date,” said Piscatella.  “August marks Grand Theft Auto V’s 60th month in market, and is the 59th month Grand Theft Auto V has appeared on the best-sellers chart. Grand Theft Auto V remains the best-selling game in tracked history.”

Wait — which Call of Duty?

Oh, and maybe you noticed that the Call of Duty in the top 10 is Modern Warfare 2 from 2009. That’s not a typo. People rushed out to pick up the Xbox 360 version.

“The title was added to the Xbox One Backward Compatible Game Library on August 28, propelling the title up to number 8 on the August best-sellers chart,” said the NPD analyst. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 finished July 2018 as the 321st best-selling game of the month.”

Finally, Electronic Arts was the top-selling publisher in August. Nintendo is the top-selling publisher of 2018 year-to-date.

More software charts

Top 10 best-selling games of 2018 so far

  1. Far Cry 5
  2. God of War
  3. Monster Hunter: World
  4. Madden NFL 19**
  5. Grand Theft Auto V
  6. Call of Duty: WWII
  7. Dragon Ball: Fighterz
  8. Mario Kart 8
  9. NBA 2K18
  10. Super Mario Odyssey

Top 10 best-selling games of the last 12 months

  1. Call of Duty: WWII
  2. NBA 2K18
  3. Destiny 2**
  4. Super Mario Odyssey*
  5. Far Cry 5
  6. Star Wars: Battlefront II**
  7. Madden NFL 18**
  8. Assassin’s Creed: Origins
  9. God of War
  10. FIFA 18**

Xbox One

  1. Madden NFL 19
  2. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  3. Grand Theft Auto V
  4. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
  5. Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy
  6. Overwatch
  7. Naruto To Boruto: Shinobi Striker
  8. Far Cry 5
  9. Call of Duty: WWII
  10. Star Wars: Battlefront II

PlayStation 4

  1. Madden NFL 19
  2. God of War
  3. Naruto To Boruto: Shinobi Striker
  4. Grand Theft Auto V
  5. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  6. Horizon Zero Dawn
  7. Detroit: Become Human
  8. Far Cry 5
  9. MLB 18: The Show
  10. We Happy Few*

Nintendo Switch*

  1. Mario Kart 8
  2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  3. Super Mario Odyssey
  4. Monster Hunter: Generations Ultiamte
  5. Mario Tennis Aces
  6. Octopath Traveler
  7. Splatoon 2
  8. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
  9. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
  10. Minecraft


  1. Pokemon Ultra Sun
  2. WarioWare: Gold
  3. Pokemon: Ultra Moon
  4. Mario Kart 7
  5. Super Smash Bros.
  6. Super Mario 3D Land
  7. Minecraft
  8. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
  9. Super Mario Maker
  10. Mario Party: The Top 100

Hardware and accessories

New month, same hardware story. Every platform holder continues to get good news in these reports.

“Hardware spending in August 2018 grew 28 percent when compared to a year ago, to $214 million,” said Piscatella. “PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One, and plug-and-play devices such as the NES Classic Edition all posted year-on-year gains.”

So while August was a month when Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft could hold hands, 2018 is looking like a year for them to all go to the bank together.

“For the 2018 year-to-date period, hardware spending has increased 22 percent to $2.1 billion,” said Piscatella. “Spending gains for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and plug-and-play devices such as the NES Classic and SNES Classic have driven growth. Hardware spending remains at its highest level achieved since 2011.”

Nintendo hardware sales are at their strongest point year-to-date since 2011. PlayStation 4 is still the best-selling console platform of 2018. And the plug-and-play systems grew by a factor of 21 year-over-year. They are now up 400 percent over 2017 year-to-date.

Finally, accessories continue to set records.

“Total spending on accessories and game cards grew 39 percent in August 2018 when compared to a year ago, to $251 million,” said Piscatella. “This represents a record high for an August tracking period.”

Accessories and game card spending is at $2.3 billion year-to-date. That’s up 33 percent over the same tracking period in 2017. It’s also an all-time record.

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