The US charts for September (which include both digital and physical sales, unless mentioned otherwise) saw a lot of new titles entering the Top Ten, all of them breaking records.
Spider-Man unsurprisingly debuted at No.1. It’s the biggest launch sales for a PlayStation exclusive ever and the seventh biggest launch achieved by any game on a PlayStation platform, NPD’s VG industry analyst Mat Piscatella explained. Other records for Spider-Man included being the biggest launch of the year (a crown it’s very likely to lose very quickly as Red Dead Redemption 2 launches this Friday) and currently the third best selling game of 2018. Piscatella added: “Marvel’s Spider-Man achieved launch month sales 37 per cent higher than the combined launch month sales of all other Spider-Man games released since the NPD Group began tracking in 1995.”
Meanwhile, NBA 2K19 debuted at No.2, demonstrating once again the incredible popularity of the franchise in the US. NBA 2K19 also broke a few records: biggest launch ever for a title in the NBA 2K series, best-selling sports game of 2018 so far and biggest ever launch for a sports game since NDP started tracking sales in 1995.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey had to settle for No.3 but it’s worth noting that the game had only been out for two days when NPD closed its report on October 6th. However, Piscatella noted a “double-digit percentage dollar sales growth when compared to the launch of Assassin’s Creed: Origins a year ago.”
FIFA 19 entered the charts at No.4, though EA is one of the few publishers that doesn’t communicate its PC digital sales to NPD. Taking this into account, FIFA 19 had the biggest launch sales for a title in the series since FIFA 16.
Meanwhile, Shadow of the Tomb Raider debuted at No.5 and Forza Horizon 4 had the highest launch in the franchise’s history, entering the charts at No.7.
The US market had a healthy September, with sales reaching $1.3bn (£1bn) – a seven per cent increase year-on-year. Year-to-date, the US market was worth $8.9bn as October 6th, which represented a 16 per cent raise compared to 2017.
But it’s actually not thanks to this deluge of new games.
It’s thanks to accessories and game cards, that have seen an impressive growth, going up 43 per cent year-on-year. “For the first time in tracked history, both September and year-to-date game card spending now exceeds that of accessories,” Piscatella explained. We asked him what exactly NPD was including in game cards, to understand whether or not that growth could be attributed to players buying Fortnite currency. He answered: "A vast majority of game card spending goes towards digital currencies for digital storefronts. And yes, a good chunk of the growth we’re seeing this year can indeed be attributed to Fortnite."
He added: "US retailers have sold well over $1bn in digital video game content via game cards this year, a significant spend to say the least." ‘This year’ here meaning year-to-date.
Meanwhile, hardware spending was down 3 per cent in September compared to last year.
Here’s the Top Ten for the period between September 2nd to October 6th (data courtesy of NPD Group):