March NPD Results : The Nintendo Switch and Animal Crossing Break Records

The March NPD data is in and one thing is exceedingly clear; Animal Crossing now ranks among Mario and Zelda as the most important IPs to Nintendo.

First things first, total spend in March was $1.597 billion which is the second highest since NPD started tracking to $1.8 billion in 2008. This is a 35% increase over February and hardware specifically saw a 63% increase month over month.

Hardware sales saw an increase across the board with Switch leading the way.

The Switch set an all-time record for unit sales for any March month since NPD began tracking. But PlayStation 4 and Xbox One dollar sales also jumped 25% each year-over-year.

March 2020 Dollar Sales Mar’19 Mar’20 Change
Total Video Game Sales $1,186m $1,597m 35%
Video Game Hardware $282m $461m 63%
Video Game Software (Physical and Full Game Digital Formats from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for DLP Participants) $550m $739m 34%
Video Game Accessories & Game Cards $354m $397m 12%

Obviously the global pandemic has had a tremendously positive effect on video game hardware and software sales. But one title stood on a pedestal among the rest. In short, Animal Crossing has seen sales success that we very rarely see from a single platform exclusive.

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the best-selling game of March 2020 and the second best-selling game of 2020 year to date,” said Piscatella. “Animal Crossing: New Horizons achieved the third highest launch month physical dollar and unit sales of any Nintendo published game in tracked history. Among Nintendo published games, only Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Dec 2018) and Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Mar 2008) debuted with higher physical software sales in a launch month.”  he continued…“Launch month dollar sales of Animal Crossing: New Horizons have exceeded the lifetime sales of all other Animal Crossing franchise games, making Animal Crossing: New Horizons the best-selling game in franchise history,” said Piscatella.

Yes you read that right. Animal Crossing achieved higher sales at launch than any Mario or Zelda title in the NPD’s recorded history. And possibly even more impressive? Animal Crossing was number one for the month despite not including digital sales which are likely a high percentage due to nationwide lockdown measures. Mind-boggling.

Animal Crossing

Meanwhile Modern Warfare continues to be a sales phenomenom likely aided by the renewed interest thanks for the success of Warzone.

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was the second best-selling game of March 2020 and is now the best-selling game of 2020 year to date,” said Piscatella. “March sales of Call of Duty franchise titles reached a new all-time high for a March month, exceeding the previous peak set in March 2010.”


Lastly, Nioh 2, the highly rated follow-up from Team Ninja, had a disappointing debut and didn’t even crack the top 10 for the month (landing at 11th).

*Digital sales not included

  1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  3. MLB: The Show 20
  4. Resident Evil 3
  5. NBA 2K20
  6. Doom Eternal*
  7. Persona 5: Royal
  8. Grand Theft Auto V
  9. Borderlands 3
  10. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  11. Nioh 2
  12. Red Dead Redemption II
  13. FIFA 20 [EA Sports]
  14. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  15. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX*
  16. Madden NFL 20 [EA Sports]
  17. Just Dance 2020
  18. Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order
  19. Mortal Kombat 11
  20. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: Remastered


Our Take

We love seeing video games being played more than ever despite the circumstances. The data on Animal Crossing is truly mind-boggling and there’s little doubt in our mind that Nintendo will be placing a much larger focus on the IP going forward given the tremendous success its seen. Lastly, we simply have to laugh at seeing GTAV continue to be in the top 10.


By Seasoned Gaming

Covering the videogame industry with daily content, unique opinions, and as always, no ads or filler.

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