Worldwide Video Game Spending Hits Record $10.5B in April (2020)

Digital video game spending hit a record high in April as players continue leisure activities at home amid national stay-at-home orders to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Game spending topped $10.5 billion last month, higher than March figures ($10 billion) and up 17 percent from the same month in 2019 according to the latest report from Nielsen’s SuperData. 

Nintendo’s social simulation game Animal Crossing: New Horizons led the charge, selling the most digital units — $3.6 million — of any game during the month. After only two months on the market, the game is now the top Switch title in lifetime digital sales and lifetime digital revenue. 

Meanwhile, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake from Square Enix sold $2.2 million digital units, surpassing Marvel’s Spider-Man which previously held the launch digital sales record for an exclusive title on Playstation 4.

Another game that performed well was Capcom’s survival-horror Resident Evil 3, the remake of the 1999 title. The game sold $1.3 million digital units in April, a similar figure to its predecessor, Resident Evil 2, which sold $1.4 million digital units at launch in January 2019.

The report also showed a continued interest in single-player Call of Duty experiences, as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered — the single-player portion of the 2019 first-person shooter game — sold $3.4 million units in April. 

Online games are powering through at a rapid pace, with Grand Theft Auto V seeing its highest monthly spending in-game content during the month. As a result of Epic Games offering the title free through its digital storefront, the game is expected to see strong numbers in May.

Since rapper Travis Scott appeared for a virtual performance in Epic Games’ free-to-play battle royale hit Fortnite, the game has seen player numbers grow month-over-month across all platforms and monthly earnings are at their highest since May, 2019. Fortnite appears to be continuing to bridge the gap between blockbuster films and video games, having shown Christopher Nolan’s Tenet trailer in the game this month.

Overall in digital spending, year-over-year earnings are up 14 percent on mobile and 12 percent on PC. Consoles show more significant growth, up 42 percent year-over-year with the interest attributed to high performances from existing titles.