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People are still spending record amounts on gaming in the US this year

Games, consoles and accessories are all selling better than ever.
Nathan Ingraham
August 10, 2020
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Future Publishing via Getty Images

If it wasn’t already obvious that the coronavirus has been a boon for the video game market, industry analysts at the NPD Group have more evidence. The reliable market-tracking firm says that people spent more on video games in the US in the second quarter than ever before. Total spending of $11.6 billion marked a 30 percent year-over-year increase and a seven percent bump over the prior quarter, when spending hit a then-record of $10.9 billion.

Not surprisingly, games made up the lions share of that number, with “video game content” accounting for $10.2 billion, up 28 percent from a year ago. This tracks, given that Sony just said PlayStation software purchases “nearly doubled” during the pandemic.

Hardware sales were “only” $848 million, but that mark represented a massive 57 percent bump from Q2 2019. NPD said that console sales were strong across the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 — so even though these consoles have all been available for a while, they all got a nice bump. Similarly, the accessories category was also up 50 percent compared to a year ago.

As for what games drove this surge, there aren’t a lot of surprises on NPD’s list. New titles Fantasy VII: Remake and The Last of Us Part II combined with time-tested sellers like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Warzone, Grand Theft Auto V, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe and, of course, Minecraft.

Given that the US is still advised to stay home as much as possible, NPD doesn’t see this trend reverseing itself any time soon. That doesn’t mean Q3 will be another record, but it does make the upcoming Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 launches particularly interesting.

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