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January charts: Switch unit sales pull ahead of Xbox One for the first time

Resident Evil 2 debuted at the top of the monthly charts for January, having been on shelves for only two days when GfK closed its report for the month. As mentioned when the title debuted at the top of the weekly charts earlier this week, physical launch sales were down 18 per cent compared to 2017’s Resident Evil VII but that could largely be down to the shift to digital sales. It is Capcom’s biggest launch since Resident Evil VII, with the publisher announcing on Tuesday that the remake of the 1998 classic shipped three million copies since launch last week (on January 25th).

Meanwhile, New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe, which launched on January 11th, entered the monthly charts at No.4. Month One sales for the title were up 17 per cent compared to launch sales for the original New Super Mario Bros U. However, the latter was a launch title for the Wii U so the install base was much lower than the Switch’s current playerbase.

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown debuted at No.13, whereas the previous entry in the franchise, released 12 years ago, didn’t even make it to the monthly charts back then. Ace Combat 7 is the biggest launch in the series, as we mentioned back on its release week.

Further down the charts, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition entered the January charts at No.36. The original 2009 release didn’t make it to the monthly listings back then as it was an Xbox 360 exclusive.

There were no other new entry in the charts in January. Super Smash Bros Ultimate, which debuted at No.4 in the December charts, made it to No.6 for its second month, with sales down 87 per cent month-on-month.

Overall, physical sales were down 10 per cent year-on-year in units but only down 1.15 per cent in value. That is mostly due to Nintendo Switch titles being more expensive than other platforms. Back in January 2018, Switch only represented 13.1 per cent of all physical games sold in the UK, while in January 2019, it represented 28.1 per cent. In January 2019, for the first time, Switch has sold more physical titles monthly than the Xbox One. The Switch has been doing better than the Xbox One in terms of value for six out of the past nine months already. 

Having said that, Microsoft has been doubling down on digital with its Xbox Game Pass, while Nintendo’s strategy couldn’t be farther from that. As a comparison, PS4 is still far ahead of both, with 41.7 per cent of all physical games sold in January 2019 going to Sony’s console.

Here’s the Top Ten for the period between December 30th 2018 and January 26th 2019 (data courtesy of GfK/Ukie):

About Marie Dealessandri

Marie Dealessandri is MCV’s senior staff writer, having joined the publication during its days as a weekly magazine. After testing the waters of the film industry in France and being a radio host and reporter in Canada, she settled for the games industry in London in 2015. She can be found (very) occasionally tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate, Hollow Knight and the Dead Cells soundtrack.

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