September 2018 NPD: Spider-Man does what only he can

Gaming consumers in the United States spent $1.376 billion in September, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. That’s up year-over-year. It was an especially strong month for the Marvel’s and Sony’s webslinger and a slew of other new releases.

“September 2018 tracked spending across video game Hardware, Software, Accessories and Game Cards grew 7 percent when compared to a year ago, to $1.4 billion. Accessory and Game Card spending was the primary driver of growth.”

Here are the numbers for September:

  • Total: $1.376 billion (up 7 percent from $1.285 billion in September 2017)
  • Hardware: $306 million (down 3 percent from $316 million)
  • PC and console software: $747 million (flat from 2017’s $744 million)
  • Accessories: $323 million (up 43 percent from $225 million)

Here’s how 2018 is comparing so far to 2017 in terms of year-to-date dollar sales:

  • Total: $8.912 billion (up 16 percent from $7.706 billion in 2017 year to date)
  • Hardware: $2.422 billion (up 18 percent from $2.056 billion)
  • PC and console software: $3.877 billion (up 5 percent from $3.708 billion)
  • Accessories: $2.613 billion (up 35 percent from $1.942 billion)

Let’s do the software charts.

Software chart

NPD tracks physical sales at retailers, but it also gets digital data directly from publishers. But not every company participates. For example, Nintendo doesn’t share its first-party sales, and Activision Blizzard does not provide its sales. These charts are sorted by dollar sales – not number of units sold.

  1. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  2. NBA 2K19
  3. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  4. FIFA 19**
  5. Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  6. Madden NFL 19**
  7. Forza Horizon 4
  8. Destiny 2**
  9. Super Mario Party*
  10. NHL 19
  11. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
  12. WWE 2K19
  13. Grand Theft Auto V
  14. Mario Kart 8
  15. Naruto To Boruto: Shinobi Striker
  16. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  17. Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy
  18. Super Mario Odyssey*
  19. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  20. Minecraft**

*Does not include digital sales.
*Does not include PC digital sales.

“Dollar sales of console, portable and PC games software reached $747 million in September 2018, flat when compared to a year ago,” said Piscatella. “Year-to-date software spending is up 5 percent versus a year ago, to $3.9 billion.”

September didn’t have a massive, multiplatform release on the scale of Destiny 2. Last year, Activision launched that sci-fi shooter to immediate blockbuster sales. Instead, a platform exclusive, a late-comer, and a pack of decent performers ensured that sales were only flat instead of down year-over-year.


Spider-Man is the obvious standout success from September. Despite launching exclusively for PlayStation 4, it outperformed every other new multiplatform release for the month. It has also a top-chartered from a historical perspective.

“Marvel’s Spider-Man, the best-selling game of September, achieved the highest launch month dollar sales for any PlayStation exclusive in history, and is the seventh largest launch ever achieved by any game on any PlayStation platform,” said Piscatella. “Marvel’s Spider-Man generated higher dollars sales in its launch than any other game this year and currently ranks as the third best-selling game of 2018, and the No. 8 best-selling game over the last 12 months.”

Spider-Man’s web has tangled with video games from the beginning, but this one stands apart from that pack. It turns out that giving a team like Insomniac the time and budget to build a dream version of a beloved character is a sound investment.

“Marvel’s Spider-Man achieved launch month sales 37 percent higher than the combined launch month sales of all other Spider-Man games released since The NPD Group began tracking in 1995,” said Piscatella.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey launched October 5, and NPD’s September tracking period ended the next day. So this chart only has two days of sales. With that in mind, it was able to get near the top of the list. It also showed a distinct increase over its immediate predecessor.

“Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey appears at #3 on the September charts with double-digit percentage dollar sales growth when compared to the launch of Assassin’s Creed: Origins a year ago,” said Piscatella. “Assassin’s Creed: Origins now ranks as the sixth best-selling game over the past 12 months.”

NBA 2K19

The big annual basketball launch from 2K Games has once again deliver strong sales.

“NBA 2K19 debuts as the No. 2 best-selling game of September, and instantly becomes the fifth best-selling game of 2018,” said Piscatella. “NBA 2K19 achieved the highest launch month dollar sales of any sports genre game released since The NPD Group began tracking the industry in 1995. NBA 2K19 represents the biggest launch of any game in the NBA 2K franchise, and it is now the best-selling sports game of 2018 year to date.”

So yeah, it doesn’t seem like that franchise is slowing down at all.

Forza Horizon 4

Meanwhile, the major Xbox exclusive for September launched to franchise records of its own.

“Forza Horizon 4 achieved the highest launch month dollar sales in Forza franchise history and is the biggest launch for a racing game on any Xbox platform in history,” said Piscatella. “Forza Horizon 4 was the seventh best-selling game of September.”

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

While it seemed like Shadow of the Tomb Raider came and went, it posted some solid numbers. Not only did it reach No. 5 on the sales chart for September, it outsold the launch of the last game in the series.

“[It achieved] the second highest launch month dollar sales for the franchise following only Tomb Raider, which launched in 2013,” said Piscatella.


And U.S. soccer fans continued to show up for FIFA as well.

“FIFA 19 launches at number 4 on the September charts, with higher launch month dollar sales than any release in the franchise since FIFA 16,” said Piscatella. “And it had the third highest launch month dollar sales for any soccer game in history.

The rest of the software charts

Best selling games so far this year

  1. Far Cry 5
  2. God of War 2018
  3. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  4. Monster Hunter: World
  5. NBA 2K19
  6. Madden NFL 19**
  7. Grand Theft Auto V
  8. Call of Duty: WWII**
  9. Dragon Ball: Fighterz
  10. Mario Kart 8*

Best selling games of the last 12 months

  1. Call of Duty: WWII**
  2. Super Mario Odyssey*
  3. Far Cry 5
  4. Star Wars: Battlefront II 2017**
  5. NBA 2K18
  6. Assassin’s Creed: Origins
  7. God of War 2018
  8. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  9. Monster Hunter: World
  10. NBA 2K19

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