The game industry was up 13 percent year-over-year in May, generating $685 million from May 2017’s $607 million, according to the industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. The growth is thanks mostly to hardware and accessories, as software sales were down 4 percent.

Software sales may have experienced a dip in May, but PC and consoles sales are expected to grow steadily. PC games, both digital and boxed, are projected to hit $32.3 billion in 2021, increasing with a compound annual growth rate 4.2 percent from 2017. The global games industry as a whole is expected to hit $180.1 billion in 2021, mainly through digital sales, and this data from The NPD Group is a good snapshot showing how gamers are spending on console games, hardware, and accessories throughout the year.

Here are the numbers for May:

  • Total: $685 million (up 13 percent from $607 million in May 2017)
  • Hardware: $186 million (up 26 percent from $147 million)
  • PC and console software: $274 million (down 4 percent from $285 million)
  • Accessories: $225 million (up 30 percent from $174 million)

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


GamesBeat at the Game Awards

We invite you to join us in LA for GamesBeat at the Game Awards event this December 7. Reserve your spot now as space is limited!

Learn More
  • Total: $4.923 billion (up 15 percent from $4.288 billion in 2017 year to date)
  • Hardware: $1.336 billion (up 15 percent from $1.159 billion)
  • PC and console software: $2.166 billion (up 7 percent from $2.028 billion)
  • Accessories: $1.421 billion (up 29 percent from $1.101 billion)

“Dollar sales of console, portable and PC games software combined reached $274 million in May 2018, down 4 percent compared to a year ago,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “The decline was driven by slate, as the May 2017 release of Injustice 2 proved a difficult market comparable.”

When NetherRealm Studios’ DC Comics fighting game Injustice 2 debuted last year, it leapt to the top on its way to becoming one of the 10 best-selling games of 2017. Even so, last May was also down year-over-year because it couldn’t compete with May 2016, which saw the launches of blockbuster hits like Blizzard’s Overwatch, Id Software’s Doom, and Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4.

Here’s a look the sales charts. Reminder, these numbers don’t count digital sales from storefronts such as Blizzard’s, as those publishers don’t release that information.


  1. State of Decay 2
  2. God of War 2018
  3. Detroit: Become Human
  4. Far Cry 5
  5. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze*
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. Hyrule Warriors Definitive Ed*
  8. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  9. Mario Kart 8*
  10. NBA 2K18
  11. MLB 18: The Show
  12. Call of Duty: WWII
  13. Super Mario Odyssey*
  14. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  15. FIFA 18**
  16. Overwatch**
  17. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
  18. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
  19. Assassin’s Creed: Origins
  20. Monster Hunter: World

*No digital sales included
**No PC digital sales included

Though software sales were down year-over-year last month, Undead Labs’ zombie survival game State of Decay 2 did well for itself. It was May’s best-seller, and it sold almost twice as many copies as its prequel, State of Decay. A little less than a month after its launch, Microsoft announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo that it had acquired the studio.

Quantic Dream’s cautionary android tale Detroit: Become Human also had a terrific launch, placing third on the top-sellers chart.

“Launch month sales of Detroit: Become Human represent a record high for developer Quantic Dream, with sales growth of over 20 percent when compared to its previous launch month best-seller, Heavy Rain,” said Piscatella.

Detroit’s success contributed to Sony’s bragging rights as the best-selling publisher of the month, along with God of War, which is now the second best-selling game of the year. Though Sony was on top in May, Ubisoft continues its reign as the top-earning publisher year-to-date, and Activision Blizzard has generated the most revenue in the last 12 months.

The Nintendo Switch also has a number of top-selling games in May. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition both placed in the top 10, even though NPD doesn’t track digital sales from Nintendo’s eShop.

“Nintendo Switch software sales in May generated growth of 90 percent when compared to a year ago, delivering the highest software revenues for any Nintendo platform in May since the Nintendo Wii in May 2011,” said Piscatella.

Xbox One

  1. State of Decay 2
  2. Far Cry 5
  3. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
  4. Grand Theft Auto V
  5. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  6. Call of Duty: WWII
  7. Overwatch
  8. Sea of Thieves
  9. NBA 2K18
  10. FIFA 18

PlayStation 4

  1. God of War 2018
  2. Detroit: Become Human
  3. Far Cry 5
  4. MLB 18: The Show
  5. Grand Theft Auto V
  6. FIFA 18
  7. NBA 2K18
  8. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  9. Call of Duty: WWII
  10. Overwatch

Nintendo Switch (physical only)

  1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
  2. Hyrule Warriors Definitive Ed
  3. Mario Kart 8
  4. Super Mario Odyssey
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  6. Splatoon 2
  7. Kirby Star Allies
  8. Labo Toy-Con 01 Variety Kit
  9. Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
  10. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Nintendo 3DS

  1. Pokemon: Ultra Sun
  2. Pokemon: Ultra Moon
  3. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux
  4. Mario Kart 7
  5. Super Smash Bros.
  6. Detective Pikachu
  7. Super Mario 3D Land
  8. Super Mario Maker
  9. Minecraft
  10. Mario Party: The Top 100

The best-selling games of 2018 so far

  1. Far Cry 5
  2. God of War 2018
  3. Monster Hunter: World
  4. Call of Duty: WWII
  5. Dragon Ball: Fighterz
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. NBA 2K18
  8. MLB 18: The Show
  9. Mario Kart 8*
  10. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds**

The best-selling games over the last 12 months

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

Hardware and accessories

Sony’s PlayStation 4 continued its streak as the best-selling console year-to-date, though the other consoles didn’t do too shabby.

“Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Nintendo Switch all achieved all-time unit sales highs for a May month,” said Piscatella. “Previous highs were May 2016 for PlayStation 4, May 2015 for Xbox One, and May 2017 for Switch.”

Hardware spending was up 26 percent year-over-year, generating $186 million compared to 2017’s $147 million, thanks to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Accessories and game cards were also up 30 percent year-over-year, hitting $225 million versus 2017’s $174 million. People spent more on game cards than ever before, and accessories also generated the most revenue since 2011.

“Year-to-date sales of both headsets and gamepads have achieved all-time record highs. The previous year-to-date high spending for headsets occurred in 2011, gamepads 2016,” said Piscatella. “Sales of headsets/headphones more than doubled in May 2018 when compared to a year ago. Year-to-date, headsets/headphones spending has increased 83 percent.”

The sales for gamepads grew a more modest 16 percent year-over-year and 22 percent year-to-date, and the PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 Wireless Controller in black continues uncontested as the best-selling gamepad in May as well as year-to-date.

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.