December 2018 NPD Results: Switch highest selling console of 2018 by units and revenue, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate top selling game of December

Oct 25, 2017
23,588
#1
HARDWARE

Nintendo Switch sales are off the charts. The system was the best-selling gaming console in the United States in December and for all of 2018, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. The Switch sold well throughout the year, but the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gave it a massive boost to close out the last month.

The hybrid home/handheld system outsold the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But it didn’t just outsell them, it had the best December of any console this generation.

“Nintendo Switch generated the highest December-month hardware dollar sales for a single platform since the Nintendo Wii in December 2009,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “And it achieved the highest December unit sales for a single platform since December 2010.”

The Switch isn’t having a momentary flash alongside Super Smash Bros. Nintendo’s device was able to edge out PlayStation 4 for the 2018 hardware crown overall.

“Nintendo Switch ends 2018 as the year’s best-selling hardware platform in both units and dollars,” said Piscatella. “Annual unit and dollar sales of Nintendo Switch are the highest annual total for any hardware platform since the PlayStation 4 in 2015.”

The Switch was the primary contributor to 2018’s overall hardware unit and dollar sales, which are hitting a high for the last decade.

“Console hardware unit and dollar sales reached their highest annual totals since 2009,” said Piscatella.

But it’s not just the Switch having a strong year. While hardware sales were down overall in December, every system saw year-over-year growth in 2018.

“For the 2018 year, hardware spending increased 8 percent to $5.1 billion,” said Piscatella. “Console hardware sales drove the growth, as PlayStation 4, Plug N Play devices, Switch and Xbox One all experienced year-on-year gains.”

SOFTWARE

Gaming fans in the United States spent $3.4 billion on video game software, hardware, and accessories in December, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. That is up 2 percent year-over-year. The increase was due primarily to accessories and game-card sales.

“Gains in accessories and game-card spending offset declines in hardware and software spend,” This is the highest total tracked consumer spend for a December month since December 2015.”

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is already a blockbuster hit. It is the top-selling game of December and the No. 5 best-selling game for all of 2018. What’s stunning about this is that Nintendo’s games do not include digital sales on this chart. Call of Duty, Red Dead, and Spider-Man all do — at least on consoles.

“Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the best-selling game of December 2018 and the fifth best-selling game of 2018, despite digital sales not currently being tracked by The NPD Group,” Piscatella said. “Packaged software launch month dollar sales of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate exceeded those of the previous best in franchise history, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, by over 70 percent.”

Red Dead’s sales are also still in a category of their own. It was the best-selling game of all of 2018.

Call of Duty, meanwhile, also continues to chug along like a freight train.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is the third best-selling game of December,” said Piscatella. “And it finishes the year as the second best-selling title of 2018. 2018 marks the tenth consecutive year that Call of Duty is the best-selling video game franchise of the year.”

The best-selling games of December 2018 in the U.S.
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 Battle.net sales.

These charts are sorted by dollar sales — not number of units sold.

  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4**
  3. Red Dead Redemption II
  4. Battlefield V**
  5. NBA 2K19
  6. Mario Kart 8*
  7. Madden NFL 19**
  8. Super Mario Party*
  9. Pokemon: Lets Go Pikachu*
  10. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  11. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  12. Pokemon: Lets Go Eevee*
  13. Super Mario Odyssey*
  14. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  15. Just Cause 4
  16. FIFA 19
  17. Grand Theft Auto V
  18. Minecraft
  19. Spyro Reignited Trilogy**
  20. Fallout 76*
NPD’s 20 best-selling games of 2018
*Does not include digital sales
**Does not include PC digital sales

  1. Red Dead Redemption 2
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  3. NBA 2K19
  4. Madden NFL 19
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  6. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  7. Far Cry 5
  8. God of War 2018
  9. Monster Hunter: World
  10. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  11. Grand Theft Auto V
  12. Mario Kart 8*
  13. FIFA 19**
  14. Battlefield V**
  15. Super Mario Odyssey*
  16. Call of Duty: WWII**
  17. Dragon Ball: FighterZ
  18. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  19. Super Mario Party*
  20. Pokemon: Lets Go Pikachu*

SOURCE
 
Last edited:
Oct 27, 2017
3,567
#6
This is also why if you're Nintendo you don't revise down your 20 mill forecast during last October, because it would have been a stupid PR move and created unneccessary stock drops and bad headlines.

Now they have plenty of good news after the holidays to give to their investors even if they miss that forecast.
 
Oct 25, 2017
601
Decapod 10
#12
All those tweet windows and the repeated information is very confusing to the eyes. Could you just cut n' paste the information or is that frowned upon?

Regardless, thanks OP and congrats, Nintendo.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,619
#14
I still remember when people said that nintendo would be lucky if it reaches Wii like sales. So here we are. 150M lifetime sales doeant look too unrealistic now. Hopefully they do iterative upgrades like what smartphone makers do.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,572
#35
2 year old console sells better than 5 year old consoles.

Can't say I'm surprised.
Switch also outsold every PS4 year except 2015(IIRC) and Switch probably hasn't peaked yet as it hasn't had a price drop.

It's not just doing well in comparison to current sales.
 
Oct 27, 2017
990
Amsterdam
#42
This is also why if you're Nintendo you don't revise down your 20 mill forecast during last October, because it would have been a stupid PR move and created unneccessary stock drops and bad headlines.

Now they have plenty of good news after the holidays to give to their investors even if they miss that forecast.
True, good thing they didn't flinch.


Should've bought Nintendo stock (saying this for the nth time)
 
OP
OP
Phantom Thief
Oct 25, 2017
23,588
#44
We are just in the first page and the hot takes are already here.
Yep. To wit:

So what does this mean, no chance at 20 million for fiscal year 2018?
The Top 10 Games were all Nintendo titles, is that right? Kinda sad.
Congrats nintendo. Now fix the shitty online and put in some system level features
2 year old console sells better than 5 year old consoles.

Can't say I'm surprised.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,164
#46
The Top 10 Games were all Nintendo titles, is that right? Kinda sad.
Not really, most third parties this year didn't release on Switch and indie games simply don't sell enough on any platform to make the top 10, however indies in general do quite a bit better on Switch than other platforms so it is helping support them.