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FIFA 21 debuts at No.1 in the US for October in a first for the franchise

Nintendo Switch hardware sets a new dollar sales record for the month, surpassing the Wii in 2008

In the month before the new console generation, games hardware and accessories spending nonetheless saw new records set in the US.

Total games spending for October reached $3.8 billion, up 14% year-over-year, according to The NPD Group. This was largely driven by growth in the aforementioned hardware and accessories, as well as mobile and subscription services.

Hardware specifically saw 41% year-over-year growth to $259 million thanks to Nintendo Switch sales, which not only were the second-best October unit sales for a console in the US, they also set a new dollar sales record for the month, surpassing the previous record set by the Wii in 2008.

(This is because while the Wii still holds the unit sales record, it cost $50 less than the Switch, thus bringing in less revenue despite selling around 70,000 units more in the same month).

Accessories spending set an October record overall, up 23% year-over-year to $148 million, with gamepad spending alone also achieving a new record for the month.

And in software, overall sales reached $3.43 billion, up 12% year-over-year, with FIFA 21 topping the charts in its launch month as the first time a FIFA franchise release reached No.1 in the US.

Watch Dogs: Legion debuted at No.3 under Madden NFL 21, despite only launching three days before the end of tracking for the month. It was followed by NHL 21 at No.4, which saw the highest launch month sales for an NHL game since NHL 16 in 2015.

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit debuted at No.5 and was the best-selling game on Nintendo platforms. Overall, nine of the top 20 games for the month were published by Nintendo.

That said, Pikmin 3's Nintendo Switch remake also debuted in October at No.10 on the Switch, but did not manage to crack the top 20 overall.

Year-to-date, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is still the best-selling game of 2020, followed by Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Madden NFL 21, which rose to No.3 for the year so far about The Last of Us Part 2.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars also rose from No.10 to No. 8 year-to-date, and Marvel's Avengers held steady at No.7 despite sales falling off in October (bringing it from the No.1 best-selling game of September to No.14 in October).

Notably, major publisher Take-Two Interactive still is not including its digital revenues in the best-selling title charts, despite doing so in the past and the fact that games like GTA V and NBA 2K historically have been in the Top 10 on an almost monthly basis. As a result, NBA 2K21 appeared on the monthly chart at No.13, with only physical sales counted (the same situation is true for Nintendo-published games).

Here are the US Top 20 (based on dollar sales) for the period between October 4 and October 21, 2020, courtesy of The NPD Group:

Last Month This Month Title
New Entry 1 FIFA 21
3 2 Madden NFL 21
New Entry 3 Watch Dogs: Legion
New Entry 4 NHL 21
New Entry 5 Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
2 6 Super Mario 3D All-Stars*
8 7 Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
9 8 Star Wars: Squadrons
6 9 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
11 10 Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time
10 11 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
12 12 Ghost of Tsushima
5 13 NBA2K21*
1 14 Marvel's Avengers
14 15 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
13 16 Ring Fit Adventure*
17 17 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
4 18 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2
20 19 Super Mario Party*
16 20 New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*

*Digital sales not included

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Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.