U.S. video game spending in the second quarter of 2021 has increased 2% to $14 billion over the same period in 2020. According to the NPD Group, overall consumer spending on video games for April to June 2021 totaled $14 billion, a small increase over last year’s massive numbers, which were boosted by the pandemic.
Gains were seen across multiple categories including PC, cloud, non-console VR content, mobile and subscription spending, and hardware. Console content and accessories both saw declines. Subscription content had double-digit percentage gains over the same period in 2020 and hardware was up 12% in the same time frame, most likely due to the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. The most impressive part of the quarter’s sales was not only matching last year’s sales but surpassing them, given the massive increase the second quarter of 2020 had over 2019.
“Despite changing pandemic conditions across the country, video games spending remained strong in the second quarter of 2021,” said Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at The NPD Group. “A year ago, in the second quarter of 2020, consumer spending on video games increased a remarkable 47% compared to the same period in 2019. Consumer spending has not only maintained the elevated levels reached a year ago but exceeded them in key areas such as hardware, mobile, and subscription spending.”
2020 saw a massive spike in video game sales due to people spending more time at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The best-selling and most-played titles during the second quarter of 2021 included a smattering of new releases, live service games, and mobile titles. Some of the games are Call of Duty: Warzone, Among Us, Candy Crush Saga, Fortnite, Genshin Impact, Mario Kart 8, Resident Evil: Village, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.
Mobile games also had a good quarter, with an increase of 5% in sales over the same period in 2020, according to data from Sensor Tower. Multiplayer games continue to dominate the mobile space, with seven of the top ten earners featuring real-time online play, up over five of the top ten in 2020, however, no specific mobile games were mentioned.
“Spending in mobile games remains elevated, showing signs of a continuing lift from the surge of new players who flocked to the category beginning in the second quarter of 2020,” said Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights at Sensor Tower. “Thus far, we see no indication that spending or usage has diminished as consumers have begun their return to life in a post-vaccine world.”
The NPD Group also recently shared that Xbox was the highest selling console in the month of June in terms of dollar sales.