US spending on video games just hit a new quarterly record

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

American consumers spent more this past quarter on video games than they ever have before, to the tune of $10.9 billion — up 9 percent from the year before, according to industry analyst NPD Group (via Bloomberg). The period covers only January to March, meaning spending in the current quarter ending June 30th might end up being just as high, if not higher.

Obviously, the main event in the back third of this quarter was the coronavirus pandemic, which reached American shores at the end of January and has kept the public indoors since mid-March. According to NPD, game sales and in-game microtransactions made up $9.6 billion of that $10.9 billion figure. “Top titles included Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Doom Eternal, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto V, Minecraft, MLB The Show 20 and NBA 2K20,” NPD reported.

On the console market side of things, Nintendo was the biggest winner: the company’s sales of the Switch offset purchasing declines for the other consoles. Hardware sales in total topped $770 million. (And just speaking anecdotally, it’s nearly impossible right now to find a Switch, even if you want one, while few people are likely buying PlayStation or Xbox consoles with a new generation of devices due out this fall.) While the pandemic has us all staying at home, it seems like a lot of people have decided to just game through it — myself included.

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