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U.S. game sales dip for the first time in 13 months

MLB The Show 21

The NPD Group has released its report for April on spending on games in the US. The month showed the first dip in spending for the past 13 months, a small drop of 2 percent.

In April 2021, spending on games in the US reached $4.7 billion. Hardware sales dropped by 30 percent year-on-year to $296 million, the biggest drop seen for the month. April was always going to be a difficult month to compete with. The pandemic had forced most to remain indoors, and many people were buying consoles as fast as they could to tackle boredom.

The Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console in terms of unit sales and dollar sales for the month. However, it’s hard to judge this properly given how hard it is for anyone to get a hold of PS5 and Xbox Series X/S stock.

Total gaming content spending across mobile, console, PC, cloud, and subscription services topped $4.1 billion, up 12 percent year-on-year. MLB: The Show 21 managed to beat March’s best-selling title, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, to be the best-selling game for April 2021.

Several new releases have come along to mix up the chart, including New Pokemon Snap in third, The remaster from Square Enix Nier Replicant in fifth, and the PS5 exclusive from Housemarque, Returnal, which has landed in eighth place.

Interestingly, Mortal Kombat 11 ranked sixth in the chart, the first time it’s been in the top ten since July 2020. This is likely to be due to the game’s PS5 and Xbox Series X/S upgrade, which developers offered to players for free.

Accessories spending saw a decline in sales as well, but this time only by 23 percent. The DualSense controller for the PS5 continues to be the best-selling, and that’s unlikely to change for years to come.

Spending on games was up by 35 percent last April. Given that this year we’ve seen a 2 percent dip, the market is still up a significant 33 percent on 2019, which is a hugely impressive climb in such a short amount of time.

The top 20 best-selling games in the US for April 2021 were as follows.

1. MLB: The Show 21 (Xbox sales not included)
2. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
3. New Pokemon Snap (digital sales not included)
4. Outriders
5. Nier Replicant
6. Mortal Kombat 11
7. Monster Hunter Rise
8. Returnal
9. It Takes Two
10. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (digital sales not included)
11. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
12. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
13. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury (digital sales not included)
14. Minecraft
15. Animal Crossing: New Horizons (digital sales not included)
16. Super Mario 3D All-Stars (digital sales not included)
17. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (digital sales not included)
18. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
19. Pokemon Sword and Shield (digital sales not included)
20. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (digital sales not included)

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