Nintendo Switch reclaims top-seller crown from PS5

Eric Abent - Nov 12, 2021, 4:11pm CST
Nintendo Switch reclaims top-seller crown from PS5

Earlier this year, the PlayStation 5 managed to net itself a big win, with NPD Group reporting that it was the best-selling console for the month of September. This broke a 33-month streak in which the Nintendo Switch finished on top, probably making that first-place even sweeter for Sony. Unfortunately, PS5 was only king for a short time, as the Switch made it’s way back to the top of NPD’s rankings for October.

The state of the industry for October 2021

That’s according to NPD Group executive director Mat Piscatella, who broke down the game industry’s October 2021 in a lengthy thread on Twitter. Piscatella starts off by saying that “consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories grew 16% vs YA,” meaning that sales are on the upswing over the same period in 2020.

Hardware sales, in particular, jumped 82% year-over-year, though we have a logical explanation for that: in October 2020, a lot of gamers were waiting for the impending launches of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, so many of them probably held off on buying new hardware in anticipation of those consoles.

It’s little surprise, then, to learn that hardware was a big driver in that 16% year-over-year growth for the games industry, as Piscatella explains in that Twitter thread. As far as software goes, Far Cry 6 was the best-selling game in October, while Back 4 Blood secured the second spot for itself. That’s true across Xbox and PlayStation for both games as well, so Far Cry 6 and Back 4 Blood each had strong showings in October.

Nintendo Switch back on top thanks to OLED

Piscatella says that the Nintendo Switch reclaimed the crown as the best-selling hardware platform in October, in both units moved and dollars earned. He notes that the Switch OLED helped this along, so it seems that some Switch owners are upgrading to the new model. As we heard the last time Piscatella shared these numbers, the PlayStation 5 is still leading 2021 as a whole as the best-selling platform in terms of dollars, while the Switch is the year’s best-seller so far in terms of units.

We also learned that Metroid Dread was the third-best-selling game of the month for October 2021. At first blush, that may not seem like a big deal, but Piscatella gave us some extra context by stating that “launch month physical dollar sales” for Metroid Dread “nearly doubled those of the previous franchise best,” which was Metroid Prime.

That is huge news for Metroid fans who were hoping that Dread would make a good showing. The hope is that strong sales for Metroid Dread will show Nintendo that there’s interest in 2D Metroid games and prompt the company to develop them more frequently in the future. When you consider that Metroid hadn’t had an entirely new 2D game in nearly 20 years before Metroid Dread, these sales are probably about as strong a statement as fans could’ve hoped to make.


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