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2021 sets record for US games spending at $60.4bn | US Annual Report

Call of Duty: Vanguard was the best-selling title of the year, while the Nintendo Switch remains the top console

US games sales set a record in 2021, with total consumer spending reaching $60.4 billion. This represents an 8% increase year-over-year, according to tracking firm NPD's latest report.

Software comprised the majority of the year's revenue (85%), with game content spending reaching $51.7 billion in 2021. This included digital games, DLC, subscriptions across consoles, cloud, mobile, portable, PC and VR hardware. Software sales saw a growth of 7% compared to 2020.

Call of Duty: Vanguard was the best-selling game of 2021, followed by another CoD title, Black Ops: Cold War. This is the 13th year consecutively that the Call of Duty series tops the annual US charts. Madden NFL 22 came in at third for 2021.

Taking a look at exclusives, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales was the best-telling PlayStation title, Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl were number 1 on Nintendo platforms for the year, and Forza Horizon 5 was the top Microsoft exclusive throughout 2021.

Hardware sales saw more growth than software with console revenues reaching $6 billion last year, up 14% from $5.3 billion in 2020. The Nintendo Switch lead the year in unit and dollar sales at the best-selling console of the year.

Consumer spending on game accessories also increase 2% in 2021, for a total of $2.7 billion. Sony's White DualSense Wireless Controller was the best-selling gamepad throughout the year.

The NPD report also highlighted the best sellers of December 2021, with Call of Duty: Vanguard taking the top spot, followed by Halo Infinite and Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl. Consumer spending saw a decline of 1% compared to 2020 as it reached $7.4 billion during the month.

Hardware sales in December was down 3% to $1.32 billion as the Nintendo Switch was also the best-selling platform of December.

Here's the 2021 top 20 games (physical and digital) ranked on dollar sales, data courtesy of NPD:

Position Title
1 Call of Duty: Vanguard (Activision Blizzard)
2 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War (Activision Blizzard)
3 Madden NFL 22 (EA)
4 Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl* (Nintendo)
5 Battlefield 2042 (EA)
6 Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Sony)
7 Mario Kart 8* (Nintendo)
8 Resident Evil: Village (Capcom)
9 MLB: The Show 21^ (Sony)
10 Super Mario 3D World* (Nintendo)
11 Far Cry 6 (Ubisoft)
12 FIFA 22 (EA)
13 Minecraft (Microsoft)
14 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* (Nintendo)
15 NBA 2K22* (2K)
16 Assassin's Creed: Valhalla (Ubisoft)
17 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* (Nintendo)*
18 Back 4 Blood (Warner Bros)
19 Mortal Kombat 11 (Warner Bros)
20 Forza Horizon 5 (Microsoft)

* Digital sales not included

^ Xbox Digital sales not included

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Jeffrey Rousseau

Staff Writer

Jeffrey Rousseau joined GamesIndustry.biz in March 2021. Based in Florida, his work focused on the intersectionality of games and media. He enjoys reading, podcasts, staying informed, and learning how people are tackling issues.