U.S. Video Game Spending Up in February, But Still Way Down From 2019

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy Bandai Namco

Bandai Namco's 'Dragon Ball: Kakarot' was the only game released in 2020 to crack the top 20 best-sellers list.

Overall spending across video game hardware, software and accessories in the U.S. was down 29 percent in February to $755 million when compared year-over-year to 2019, the NPD Group reports. The number, however, is a tick up from January's $678 million.

Accounting for the bulk of spending in February was software at $307 million, down both from January's $311 million and February 2019's $477 million. With no new releases cracking the top 20 best-sellers' list in February 2020, it was older releases that dominated.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, 2019's overall best-seller, continued its dominance in the No. 1 slot across all platforms, followed by NBA 2K20 and Rockstar Games' 2013 release Grand Theft Auto V. The only game released in 2020 to make the top 20 list was Bandai Namco's Dragon Ball: Kakarot, launched in January, sliding from No. 1 in January to No. 4. The title remains the best-selling game of 2020 year-to-date.

On the hardware side, numbers actually ticked up from January's $129 million to $183 million. Still, year-over-year, spending was down a significant 34 percent. As it has been for months, Nintendo's Switch console was the best-selling piece of hardware in both dollar sales and units sold, most likely due to the system launching in 2017 while its competitors, Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, debuted in 2013. Both Sony and Microsoft plan to launch next-generation consoles this holiday season.

The remainder of spending over the month came from accessories, such as controllers, headsets and game cards. Spending in that area totaled $265 million, down 14 percent year-over-year, but up from January's $238 million. For the fourth consecutive month, the Xbox Elite Series 2 wireless controller was the best-selling piece of hardware.

With a number of high-profile titles slated for release over the next two months (including Animal Crossing and Doom Eternal in March, then Final Fantasy VII Remake and the remake of Resident Evil 3 in April), spending will likely increase in the future. Coupled with the current coronavirus pandemic forcing many to work from home and avoid public gatherings, game sales could see a big bump.