The Division 2 shows that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice isn’t too hard to beat — at least on the sales charts. But for the industry overall, March 2018 trumps March 2019, as total industry spend is down 11% compared to this time last year in the United States, market research firm The NPD Group reported today.

Sales of hardware, software, accessories, and game cards was to $1.2 billion, and NPD said that declines happened in all these segments. This isn’t the case of one or two segments dragging down the market. NPD also reports that a sagging hardware market resulted in a weaker first quarter in 2018 as compared to 2019 — it was $3.2 billion, down 2 percent, and gains in software and other areas couldn’t offset declines from sales of consoles.

March 2019 software sales hit $547 million, but for the quarter, software sales were up 2% compared to last year at $1.5 billion. So games are selling — it’s hardware that’s not moving as well as it did last year.

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.


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


  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • MLB 19: The Show
  • Devil May Cry 5
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Red Dead Redemption II
  • NBA 2K19
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Yoshi’s Crafted World
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

The Division 2’s launch sales are the sixth highest in Ubisoft’s history, and so far, its the second-best selling game of 2019. That’s amazing, considering the French publisher has so many hits in recent years, such as Far Cry 5 or Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice came in second, and it’s the eighth-best selling game of the year. It’s also From Software’s second-best launch, trailing Dark Souls III in 2016.

And while the media is worrying about the health of Major League Baseball’s audience, Sony is showing that video game fans are still putting their butts in the virtual seats. MLB 19: The Show had its best month in franchise history and set a record for sales of a baseball game.

Devil Cry 5 came in fourth — and it had the second-best launch sales month in franchise history. The record-holder for Capcom? Devil May Cry 4 in 2008.

And Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts III shows up as well. It launched in February but remains the best-selling game of the year. It’s lifetime sales are already better than the original’s from 2002.

EA’s Anthem, an online co-op shooter, came in at No. 11.

1Q Top 10

  • Kingdom Hearts III
  • The Division 2
  • Anthem
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Red Dead Redemption II
  • Jump Force
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Top 10 from March 2018-2019

  • Red Dead Redemption II
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  • NBA 2K19
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Madden NFL 19
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • God of War 2018
  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • FIFA 19
  • Mario Kart 8


Spending on hardware dropped 15% compared to March 2018 to $282, and for the first quarter, it’s down 13% to $759 million. Considering that the PS4 and Xbox One are both mature platforms, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Let’s face it — they’re getting old, and with Sony talking about its next console, consumers may be keeping their wallets closed.

Nintendo’s Switch was the best-selling platform for both March and the quarter, in terms of both dollar sales and systems sold. The Switch remains popular, but rumblings of new Switch versions could also result in consumers being slower to buy systems.

Accessories and game cards

Spending on accessories and game cards dropped 7 percent to $349 million in March 2019 as compared to one year ago. But gamepads experienced single-digit growth. And for the quarter, spending on this category is up 2 percent compared to a year ago to $929 million, with gamepads leading the way.

The best-selling gamepad so far is the DualShock 4 Wireless Controller Black, in terms of both controllers sold and dollar sales.

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