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Consumer spending on video games continued to decline in the United States in September, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. But fans still showed up for some of the big releases, including the double-header of NBA 2K20 and Borderlands 3 from publisher Take-Two Interactive.

Here are the full results:

September 2019 Dollar Sales Sep’18 Sep’19 Change
Total Video Game Sales $1.396b $1.278b -8%
Video Games Hardware $307m $240m -22%
PC & Video Games Software (PC, Console and Portable; Physical and Full Game Digital Formats from the STEAM, PlayStation and Xbox platforms) $761m $732m -4%
Video Games Accessories & Game Cards $328m $308m -7%

“September 2019 tracked spending across video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards totaled $1.278 billion, down 8 percent when compared to a year ago,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Declines were experienced across all categories.”

This is yet another month that is dragging down 2019’s performance relative to 2018. And slowing hardware sales are the biggest reason for the drop.


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“Year-to-date spending across tracked video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards has fallen 6 percent when compared to 2018, to $8.3 billion,” said Piscatella. “Declines in hardware spending have driven the decrease.”

Let’s go to the software charts.


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.

  1. NBA 2K20
  2. Borderlands 3
  3. FIFA 20
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening*
  5. Madden NFL 20
  6. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
  7. Gears 5^
  8. Code Vein
  9. NHL 20
  10. Mario Kart 8*
  11. Minecraft#
  12. Grand Theft Auto V
  13. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  14. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
  15. Red Dead Redemption II
  16. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  17. Plants vs Zombies: Battle For Neighborville
  18. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  19. Catherine
  20. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*

*Does not include digital sales
^Does not include Steam digital sales

#Only includes digital sales for PlayStation 4 and Xbox one

Unlike August, September had some major software releases. Take-Two released the aforementioned NBA 2K20 and Borderlands 3. But September also saw the debut of FIFA 20, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Gears 5, Code Vein, and NHL 20. Even Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, which launched October 4, is in NPD’s September tracking window, which runs through October 5.

But even with all of those games, software sales were still down.

“Dollar sales of tracked video game software declined 4% in September versus a year ago, to $732 million,” said Piscatella. “Growth in Switch and Xbox One software sales could not offset declines on PlayStation 4, which were driven by the comparable September 2018 release of Marvel’s Spider-Man.”

Compared to last year, software sales are still about par in 2019. But the money has shifted to Nintendo instead of Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

“Year-to-date dollar sales of tracked video game software are flat at $3.9 billion,’ said Piscatella. “Gains in sales of Nintendo Switch software have been offset by declines across all other platforms.”

NBA 2K20

2K Games’s NBA 2K20 debuted in September, and it has already shot to the top of the sales charts.

“NBA 2K20 debuts as the best-selling game of September 2019, and instantly becomes the best-selling game of 2019 year-to-date,” said Piscatella. “NBA 2K20 launch-month sales were the highest for any sports game in history, exceeding sales of the previous record holder, NBA 2K19.”

Borderlands 3

Gearbox Software’s Borderlands 3 also had an impressive debut.

“Borderlands 3 set a new franchise launch month sales record, debuting as the second best-selling game of September,” said Piscatella. “Borderlands 3 currently ranks as the third best-selling game of the year.”

Gears 5

Gears 5’s debut at No. 7 may seem disappointing at first, but it’s important to remember that it is part of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription program. Anyone can get the game as part of that membership for just $10 per month — and Microsoft has had a number of promotions that charged much less than that.

The 10 best-selling games of 2019 so far

  1. NBA 2K20
  2. Mortal Kombat 11
  3. Borderlands 3
  4. Madden NFL 20
  5. Kingdom Hearts III
  6. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
  7. Anthem
  8. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  9. Resident Evil 2 2019
  10. Grand Theft Auto V

The 10 best-selling games of the last 12 months

  1. Red Dead Redemption II
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
  3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  4. NBA 2K20
  5. Mortal Kombat 11
  6. Borderlands 3
  7. Madden NFL 20
  8. NBA 2K19
  9. Battlefield V
  10. Kingdom Hearts III

Xbox One

  1. Borderlands 3
  2. NBA 2K20
  3. Gears 5
  4. FIFA 20
  5. Madden NFL 20
  6. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
  7. NHL 20
  8. Plants vs Zombies: Battle For Neighborville
  9. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  10. Grand Theft Auto V

PlayStation 4

  1. NBA 2K20
  2. Borderlands 3
  3. FIFA 20
  4. Madden NFL 20
  5. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
  6. NHL 20
  7. Code Vein
  8. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  9. Catherine
  10. Minecraft

Nintendo Switch

  1. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening*
  2. Mario Kart 8*
  3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  4. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  6. Super Mario Maker 2*
  7. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes Of An Elusive Age*
  8. Astral Chain*
  9. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*
  10. Super Mario Party*

Nintendo 3DS

  1. Pokemon: Ultra Sun*
  2. Pokemon: Ultra Moon*
  3. Super Mario Maker*
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D*
  5. Mario Kart 7*
  6. Super Mario 3D Land*
  7. Super Smash Bros.*
  8. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D*
  9. Minecraft*
  10. Luigi’s Mansion*

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