April 22, 2024


General Evolution

NPD reveals the best-selling games of 2020 in the U.S.

Last year was massive for game sales due to more people staying home during the pandemic. With entertainment at a premium, familiar gaming brands surged in popularity. This led to huge sales for Call of Duty, Madden, and anything Nintendo. And you’ll find all of those on the top 20 best-selling games of 2020 in the United States, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group.

Here’s the full ranking:

Rank 2020 Top 20 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Activision Blizzard (Corp)
3 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
4 Madden NFL 21 Electronic Arts
5 Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla Ubisoft
6 The Last of Us: Part II Sony (Corp)
7 Ghost of Tsushima Sony (Corp)
8 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe* Nintendo
9 Super Mario 3D All-Stars* Nintendo
10 Final Fantasy VII: Remake Square Enix Inc (Corp)
11 Marvel’s Avengers Square Enix Inc (Corp)
12 Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Corp)
13 NBA 2K21* Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
14 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Nintendo
15 FIFA 21 Electronic Arts
16 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros. Interactive
17 Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Bandai Namco Entertainment
18 MLB: The Show 20 Sony (Corp)
19 Cyberpunk 2077* Warner Bros. Interactive
20 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Activision Blizzard (Corp)
* Digital sales not included

Total video game sales also set a new record at $57 billion dollars across all categories. That is up 27% year-over-year. The release of new hardware was a major force behind that growth. But game content and accessories also saw growth.

Here are the full results for 2020, according to NPD:

2020 Dollar Sales, Millions 2019 2020 CHG
Total Video Game Sales $44,926 $56,905 27%
Video Game Hardware $3,937 $5,307 35%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR) platforms) $38,824 $48,981 26%
Video Game Accessories $2,165 $2,617 21%
* Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

Call of Duty

Call of Duty is, once again, the obvious winner on this chart. The series has the top two slots with 2020’s Call of Duty: Black Ops — Cold War and 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare at No. 2.

“Call of Duty ranked as the best-selling gaming franchise in the U.S. market for a record 12th consecutive year,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said.


Nintendo is one of the other standouts for 2020. And while the company has blockbuster hits in games like Animal Cross: New Horizons, it’s also seeing success across its library.

“Half of the top 20 best-selling games of December 2020 were published by Nintendo,” said Piscatella. “In 2020, Animal Crossing achieved the highest physical dollar sales for a Nintendo-published game in a calendar year since Wii Fit Plus in 2010.”

Cyberpunk 2077

Developer CD Projekt Red previously confirmed that it has sold more than 13 million copies of Cyberpunk 2077. But the studio doesn’t share digital sales data with The NPD Group. Despite that, the game still performed well through its physical sales.

“Cyberpunk 2077 debuted as the second best-selling game of December,” said Piscatella. “And it’s the 19th best-selling game of 2020, despite the lack of digital tracking.”

The Last of Us Part II

PlayStation’s big-budget exclusive, The Last of Us Part II, was also a sales hit.

“The Last of Us: Part II finished 2020 as the year’s best-selling PlayStation exclusive, while also ranking as the sixth best-selling title overall,” said Piscatella. “The Last of Us: Part II now ranks as the third best-selling Sony-published game in U.S. history in dollar sales, trailing only Marvel’s Spider-Man, and 2018’s God of War.”


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