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US game spending jumped 35% in February, says NPD Group

Games brought in $4.6 billion as Super Mario 3D World and Switch led full game and hardware charts

The NPD Group today reported its US game spending figures for February, marking a full year of pandemic-related gains for the industry.

The group's numbers show that the US ended year one of the pandemic the same way it began it, with a 35% year-over-year jump.

For February, the NPD Group reported total US game spending on games rose 35% year-over-year to $4.6 billion.

Hardware sales saw the largest relative growth, up 121% to $406 million.

The Nintendo Switch again led the way both in terms of units sold and dollar sales, posting the highest February numbers for any console since February of 2009.

While the PS5 settled for second place in hardware sales, the NPD Group noted it is the fastest-selling hardware platform in US history when judged by total dollar sales after four months.

On the software side, total gaming content spending across console, mobile, PC, cloud, and subscription services was up 30% to $4 billion.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury was the best-selling game of the month based on its physical sales alone (Nintendo does not provide digital tracking numbers to the NPD Group).

Two other new releases made the top 20, as Persona 5: Strikers debuted in third place and Little Nightmares 2 landed in sixth.

There was minor movement in the charts beyond that, as the three new arrivals to the top 20 pushed out January's 18th, 19th, and 20th best-selling games (Cyberpunk 2077, Super Mario Party, and UFC 4, respectively).

In fact, six of the best-selling titles of February 2021 also appeared in the top 20 charts of February 2020. Another four are the latest update to annualized franchises that appeared in last February's chart.

The remaining segment of the industry, accessories, saw spending up 41% to $195 million, with the PS5 DualSense controller again bringing in the most dollar sales.

Between the first two months of 2021, total spending on games is up 39% year-over-year to $9.3 billion.

Here are the US Top 20 (based on dollar sales) for the period between January 31 and February 27, 2021, courtesy of The NPD Group:

Last Month This Month Title
NEW 1 Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury*
1 2 Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
NEW 3 Persona 5: Strikers
3 4 Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
4 5 Madden NFL 21
NEW 6 Little Nightmares 2
2 7 Assassin's Creed Valhalla
6 8 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
5 9 Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
8 10 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
12 11 FIFA 21
10 12 NBA 2K21*
9 13 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
14 14 Mortal Kombat 11
11 15 Super Mario 3D All-Stars*
7 16 Ring Fit Adventure
15 17 Just Dance 2021
17 18 Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition
16 19 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
13 20 Immortals: Fenyx Rising

*Digital sales not included

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.