It wasn't the champion in the software realm. In a shock to absolutely no one, Red Dead Redemption 2 was the best-selling game of 2018, followed by Black Ops 4 and NBA 2K19. Not that Nintendo is about to leave sobbing. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was the fifth-hottest game of the year, buoyed by a strong December where it led the charts. Ultimate also outsold the previous top Super Smash Bros. title (Brawl) by 70 percent, and Nintendo generated the most software revenue of the year.
The company was the highlight to an overall modest year. Overall spending did climb 13 percent to $16.7 billion, but it was still short of highs in previous years -- people spent $17.4 billion in 2011.
Researchers didn't explain just why Nintendo thrived, but it's easy to offer a few potential explanations. Games sell systems, and Nintendo had several quality titles high in the charts (including 2017 hits like Mario Kart 8 and Breath of the Wild). There's also the question of value. As before, the Switch can appeal to people whether they want a living room machine or a portable gaming rig. It simply has a larger potential audience than its TV-focused counterparts -- while the PS4 and Xbox One are more powerful, they're not as flexible.