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Gaming fans in the United States spent less on video game products in March, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. Those declines are due to multiple factors, but an ongoing hardware drought is one of the primary downward-driving forces. That likely had a strong knock-on effect that contributed to a decline across all categories. Here are the full results:

March 2022 Dollar Sales, MillionsMar 2021Mar 2022Change
Total Video Game Sales$5,688$4,853-15%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR) platforms)$4,712$4,112-13%
Video Game Hardware$680$515-24%
Video Game Accessories$296$227-23%
* Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

“March 2022 consumer spending across video game hardware, content, and accessories declined 15% when compared to a year ago, to $4.9 billion,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Declines were seen across all major categories of spend.”

Of course, it’s also clear that the industry is now giving back some of the gains it made during the pandemic. Games grew quickly when consumers had few other choices when it came to spending their entertainment budget. That momentum has slowed through the first quarter of 2022.

“First quarter 2022 spending fell 8% when compared to the same period a year ago, to $13.9 billion,” said Piscatella.

Year-to-Date 2022 Dollar Sales, MillionsYTD 2021YTD 2022Change
Total Video Game Sales$15,158$13,921-8%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR) platforms)$13,046$12,128-7%
Video Game Hardware$1,405$1,200-15%
Video Game Accessories$708$592-16%
* Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

But the hardware shortage is likely still the biggest culprit. People tend to spend a lot of money on new games and accessories when they buy new systems. With those devices so rare in March, new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S adopters were not making those extra purchases.

Let’s get to the software.

March 2022 NPD: Top 20 best-selling games of the month in the United States

NPD tracks physical sales at retailers, but it also gets digital data directly from publishers. Not every company participates. For example, Nintendo doesn’t share its first-party sales, and Activision Blizzard does not provide its Battle.net sales.

These charts are sorted by dollar sales — not number of units sold. And this is for full-game sales and does not include in-game spending. 

RankLast Month RankMarch 2022 Top 20 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar salesPublisher
11Elden RingBandai Namco Entertainment
2NEWGran Turismo 7Sony (Corp)
3NEWKirby and the Forgotten Land*Nintendo
4NEWMLB: The Show 22#Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
52Horizon II: Forbidden WestSony (Corp)
63Pokemon Legends: Arceus*Nintendo
7NEWWWE 2K22*Take Two Interactive
88Mario Kart 8*Nintendo
96Call of Duty: VanguardActivision Blizzard (Corp)
10NEWStranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy OriginSquare Enix Inc (Corp)
11NEWTiny Tina’s Wonderlands*Take Two Interactive
12NEWGhostwire: TokyoMicrosoft (Corp)
139FIFA 22Electronic Arts
1410MinecraftMultiple Video Game Manufacturers
157Madden NFL 22Electronic Arts
16NEWTriangle Strategy*Nintendo
1712Mario Party Superstars*Nintendo
1814Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*Nintendo
1913Animal Crossing: New Horizons*Nintendo
2021Assassin’s Creed: ValhallaUbisoft
* Digital sales not included
# Includes only the MVP Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition

March was another busy month in a busy season of game releases. And as you can see in the chart above, those games spread out across the entire top 20 for the month. While Sony and Nintendo did well with Gran Turismo 7, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and MLB: The Show 22 all in the top 5, other new games didn’t fare as well.

As always, I like to use Mario Kart 8 as the “success line” with NPD’s data. Mario Kart is a perennial top seller. And Nintendo doesn’t even provide its digital sales. But if a new game can perform better than Mario Kart 8, then it probably had a successful debut.

Unfortunately for a number of publishers, quite a few new games came in below that threshold. That includes Nintendo Switch’s other big March release, Triangle Strategy — although NPD does not have digital sales for that game as well. Publisher Square Enix has also already confirmed that game sold 800,000 copies in two weeks.

But other games below the Mario Kart 8 line include new releases like Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, and Ghostwire: Tokyo. And of those, only Tiny Tina doesn’t have digital-sales data. But in all three of those cases, their publishers were likely expecting them to sell better than an eight-year-old kart racer that first debuted on Wii U.

Elden Ring continues to dominate

While new releases made up half of the top 16 games, it was February’s top game that once again reigned supreme. Its March was actually more successful than its debut month.

“Elden Ring repeated as the best-selling game of the month, as dollar sales for the title experienced double-digit percentage dollar sales growth compared to its February 2022 launch,” said Piscatella. “Elden Ring ranked first in dollar sales among tracked titles across PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.”

At this rate, Elden Ring is bound to finish the year as one of the best-selling games.

“Elden Ring remains the best-selling game of 2022 year to date, and now ranks second over the 12 month period ending March 2022 with dollar sales trailing only those of Call of Duty: Vanguard.”

Gran Turismo 7

Gran Turismo 7 is another huge debut for PlayStation Studios. Despite launching only on PlayStation systems, it outpaced everything except for Elden Ring.

“Gran Turismo 7 debuted as the No. 2 best-selling game of March 2022, while also ranking 2nd on PlayStation platforms,” said Piscatella. “Gran Turismo set a new all-time launch-month dollar-sales record for a Gran Turismo franchise launch. Gran Turismo 7 was the fourth best-selling game of the first quarter.”

For the first quarter, Gran Turismo 7 was behind only Elden ring, they physical-only sales of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and Horizon: Forbidden West.

March 2022 NPD: 20 best-selling games of 2022 so far

RankLast Month RankYTD 2022 Top 20 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar salesPublisher
11Elden RingBandai Namco Entertainment
22Pokemon Legends: Arceus*Nintendo
33Horizon II: Forbidden WestSony (Corp)
4NEWGran Turismo 7Sony (Corp)
54Call of Duty: VanguardActivision Blizzard (Corp)
65Madden NFL 22Electronic Arts
7NEWKirby and the Forgotten Land*Nintendo
811Mario Kart 8*Nintendo
96Dying Light 2: Stay Human*Square Enix Inc (Corp)
1012FIFA 22Electronic Arts
11NEWMLB: The Show 22#Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
127Monster Hunter: RiseCapcom USA
1310Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles MoralesSony (Corp)
1413MinecraftMultiple Video Game Manufacturers
1514Mario Party Superstars*Nintendo
169God of War (2018)Sony (Corp)
178Total War: Warhammer IIISega
1815Animal Crossing: New Horizons*Nintendo
19NEWWWE 2K22*Take Two Interactive
2019Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*Nintendo
* Digital sales not included
# Includes only the MVP Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition

March 2022 NPD: Top 10 best-selling games of the 12 months

RankLast Month Rank12 Months Ending March 2022 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar salesPublisher
11Call of Duty: VanguardActivision Blizzard (Corp)
25Elden RingBandai Namco Entertainment
32Madden NFL 22Electronic Arts
44Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl*Nintendo
56Battlefield 2042Electronic Arts
67Far Cry 6Ubisoft
73Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold WarActivision Blizzard (Corp)
810FIFA 22Electronic Arts
99Resident Evil: VillageCapcom USA
1012MLB: The Show 21^Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
* Digital sales not included
^ Digital sales on Xbox platforms not included

March 2022 NPD: Top 10 best-selling Nintendo-platform games in the U.S.

Nintendo Platforms
RankLast Month RankMarch 2022 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar salesPublisher
1NEWKirby and the Forgotten Land*Nintendo
21Pokemon Legends: Arceus*Nintendo
32Mario Kart 8*Nintendo
4NEWTriangle Strategy*Nintendo
53Mario Party Superstars*Nintendo
65Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*Nintendo
74Animal Crossing: New Horizons*Nintendo
88Super Mario 3D World*Nintendo
9NEWRune Factory 5*Marvelous Entertainment
1010New Super Mario Bros.*Nintendo
* Digital sales not included

March 2022 NPD: Top 10 best-selling PlayStation-platform games in the U.S.

RankLast Month RankMarch 2022 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar salesPublisher
12Elden RingBandai Namco Entertainment
2NEWGran Turismo 7Sony (Corp)
3NEWMLB: The Show 22#Sony (Corp)
41Horizon II: Forbidden WestSony (Corp)
5NEWWWE 2K22*Take Two Interactive
6NEWStranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy OriginSquare Enix Inc (Corp)
74Call of Duty: VanguardActivision Blizzard (Corp)
8NEWTiny Tina’s Wonderlands*Take Two Interactive
96Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles MoralesSony (Corp)
10NEWGhostwire: TokyoMicrosoft (Corp)
* Digital sales not included
# Includes only the MVP Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition

March 2022 NPD: Top 10 best-selling Xbox-platform games in the U.S.

RankLast Month RankMarch 2022 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar salesPublisher
11Elden RingBandai Namco Entertainment
22Call of Duty: VanguardActivision Blizzard (Corp)
3NEWWWE 2K22*Take Two Interactive
4NEWTiny Tina’s Wonderlands*Take Two Interactive
59Assassin’s Creed: ValhallaUbisoft
65Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold WarActivision Blizzard (Corp)
711Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)Activision Blizzard (Corp)
86Forza Horizon 5Microsoft (Corp)
94Madden NFL 22Electronic Arts
108FIFA 22Electronic Arts
* Digital sales not included

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