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Video games

State of the Union: Reviewing Video Games in 2018

Contact the editor at karina@plainlanguagemedia.com

The U.S. video gaming industry broke records in 2018 to hit an estimated $43.4 billion in sales, according to the NPD Group, marking a rise of 18% year-over-year.

  • Hardware revenue, including peripherals, hit $7.5 billion for a markup of 15% year-over-year.
  • Software revenue was up 18% to reach $35.8 billion.
  • Accessory and game card spending for 2018 grew 33% year-over-year to $4.5 billion, an all-time high.
The best-selling list of titles sold through Amazon in 2018 is dominated by titles for Nintendo Switch:
  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Nintendo Switch)
  2. Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4)
  3. Super Mario Party (Nintendo Switch)
  4. Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4)
  5. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch)
  6. Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)
  7. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! (Nintendo Switch)
  8. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (PS4)
  9. God of War (PS4)
  10. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch)

Combining sales for all consoles, the NPD’s list of top-selling games for 2018 is a little more diverse:

  1. Red Dead Redemption 2
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  3. NBA 2K19
  4. Madden NFL 19
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (*Does not include digital sales)
  6. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  7. Far Cry 5
  8. God of War 2018
  9. Monster Hunter: World
  10. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

When it comes to console systems, the Nintendo Switch was the top-selling console of 2018 in the U.S., France, and Japan (at least). Based on previous reports, the PS4 had been outselling Xbox One units two-to-one earlier in the year.

Despite bad press surrounding 2015’s Star Wars Battlefront reboot series, Disney CEO Bob Igor indicated in an earnings call that the company will continue its “good relationship” with Electronic Arts as well as to license out games to other companies. “We’ve just never managed to demonstrate much skill on the publishing side of games … but we’ve been great at the licensing side which obviously doesn’t require that much allocation of capital.”

This year, Rovio is adding to its mobile games portfolio with Angry Birds Dream Blast, a casual tap-to-match puzzle game. The company plans to launch at least two new games throughout 2019 during the 10th anniversary year for the Angry Birds brand. The company’s 2018 brand licensing business declined as expected year-on-year to €30.8 million ($34.8 million; down -37.4%) due to the large revenue peak of the Angry Birds Movie in 2017.

Twitter reports that 2018 saw one billion tweets about gaming globally. Here are the regions that tweeted most about gaming in 2018:

  1. Japan
  2. U.S.
  3. U.K.
  4. France
  5. South Korea
  6. Spain
  7. Brazil
  8. Canada
  9. Mexico
  10. Germany

Meanwhile, the most-tweeted about games last year, according to Twitter, were:

  1. Fate/Grand Order (@fgoproject)
  2. Fortnite (@FortniteGame)
  3. Monster Strike (@MStrikeOfficial)
  4. Splatoon (@SplatoonJP)
  5. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (@PUBG)
  6. Granblue Fantasy (@granbluefantasy)
  7. Ensemble Stars (@ensemble_stars)
  8. Super Smash Brothers (@NintendoAmerica)
  9. Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch)
  10. Final Fantasy (@FinalFantasy)
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