If you’ve been following the gaming space — or just the state of the world, generally — over the past 12 months, this shouldn’t come as a major surprise. Spending saw big increases pretty much across the board in 2020 as a homebound populace sought comfort and distraction in gaming. This comes in stark contrast to much of the rest of the consumer electronics space, in which economic uncertainty curtailed purchasing on non-essentials.
According to the latest figures from NPD, spending on gaming hardware, software and accessories was up 25% in December and 27% for the full year. Hardware specifically increased 38% year-over-year for December to $1.35 billion, with the arrival of next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft.
That’s the highest figure since the $1.37 billion hit in December 2013, the year the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 arrived. In spite of this year’s new arrivals (which were hampered by limited availability), Nintendo’s Switch once again dominated sales for the month, with the PS5 grabbing the No. 2 spot. The Switch’s 2020 was the second-highest annual performance for a console, after the Wii in 2008.
The Switch — which turns three this March — got off to a slow start, courtesy of its own limited availability. But the arrival of a new Animal Crossing title helped rocket it to the top, as isolated consumers looked for new venues for social gaming. That title took the number three spot for the year, finishing behind Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (the former also topping the list for December).