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Nintendo Dominated April Video Games Sales, Helped Grow Entire Industry

A rising Nintendo lifts all video games.

News by Matt Kim, .

Nintendo had a really good April. Not only did the house of Mario top the charts for hardware sales thanks to both the Nintendo Switch and the NES Classic, but Mario Kart 8 was the software leader for console game sales last month. Nintendo's success practically fueled growth for the entire video game industry.

Mario Kart 8 was the hands down software sales winner of April moving about 550,000 units inc ombined digital and physical sales. This easily makes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe the most successful entry into the Mario Kart franchise. Persona 5 also made a strong showing at second place (the strongest in series history), followed by Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And when Nintendo Switch games are doing well, so must the actual Switch hardware.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

"The Nintendo Switch was the catalyst for this growth with sales exceeding 280,000 units," said Mat Piscatella, an analyst at the market research group NPD. He added that this was the first time since 2015 that the video game industry experienced two months of consecutive growth.

According to NPD consumers in the U.S. spent $636 million in April, a 10 percent increase from $577 million in April 2016. The growth was spearheaded by console hardware sales which reached $195 million (a whopping 35 percent increase from the same month last year), and console software sales which hit $304 million (up 6 percent). The hardware and console software sales increase was primarily a result of strong Nintendo sales.

The success of the Switch could drive sales for other video game developers who, as Piscatella points out, produced seven of the titles in the top 10 Switch games in April, with Nintendo publishing the top three. If the Switch continues to dominate sales, then third-party publishers will find greater incentive to work with Nintendo on future titles. Companies like Ubisoft and EA have already pledged stronger support for the console going forward.

Just to add to Nintendo's Switch April success, sales for video game accessories also increased last month, hitting $125 million (up from $121 million from last year). The increase was led by, you guessed it, sales for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller which was the top selling accessory last month.

Update: We've add the list of Top 10 Games sold in April.

April 2017 Top 10 Games Overall

  • 1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe*
  • 2. Persona 5*
  • 3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  • 4. MLB 17: The Show
  • 5. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  • 6 Grand Theft Auto V
  • 7. Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • 8. NBA 2K17
  • 9. Overwatch*
  • 10. Call of Duty: Black Ops II

April 2017 Top 10 Switch Games

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe*
  • Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  • Lego City Undercover*
  • 1-2-Switch*
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris*
  • Super Bomberman R*
  • Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth + *
  • Just Dance 2017*
  • Skylanders Imaginators*

April 2017 Top 10 PS4 Games

  • Persona 5*
  • MLB 17: The Show
  • Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • NBA 2K17
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  • Overwatch

April 2017 Top 10 Xbox One Games

  • Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Overwatch
  • Forza Horizon 3
  • NBA 2K17
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  • Lego Worlds
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • For Honor

* does not include digital sales

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Comments 14

  • Avatar for Darkarm66 #1 Darkarm66 2 months ago
    The fact that the NES Classic, which was killed off and left for dead, outsold the PS4, Xbox One and 3DS in April.....that's a whole lot to unpack, granted a 60 dollar novelty item is cheaper than all three.
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  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #2 SIGGYZtar 2 months ago
    Any news on the Hori Fighting Stick for the Nintendo Switch?
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  • Avatar for saturn500 #3 saturn500 2 months ago
    Deleted May 2017 by saturn500
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  • Avatar for Outrider #4 Outrider 2 months ago
    I mean... a 35% increase in hardware sales isn't that surprising, right? How often do we have brand new hardware launching in March/April? It's been years since I followed these numbers all that closely but you usually don't see a new console launching this time of year, so a massive year over year increase is more about the anomaly of a console release happening this time of year than it is about how successful the Switch is (though of course, the success of the Switch is definitely still a contributing factor.)
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  • Avatar for rezzyk #5 rezzyk 2 months ago
    @Outrider The 3DS launched in February in Japan, and Europe and the US in March in 2011. Of course we all know that system didn't sell well at first. I wouldn't know where to go find numbers, though.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #6 donkeyintheforest 2 months ago
    "about 550,000 units...easily makes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe the most successful entry into the Mario Kart franchise"

    wait wait wait...

    Mario Kart Wii sold about 36-37 million. I'm all for hoping the Switch does great but let's not jump the gun.

    Then again, if the media's perceptions caused the failure of the Wii U, they have the potential to make the Switch.

    Yes! Most successful Mario Kart ever!
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  • Avatar for usgmattkim #7 usgmattkim 2 months ago
    @donkeyintheforest The NPD figures account for sales up until the 29th, and MK8 came out on the 28th which means it tracked 500k units in days.
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  • Avatar for Lane #8 Lane 2 months ago
    @Darkarm66 "The fact that the NES Classic, which was killed off and left for dead, outsold the PS4, Xbox One and 3DS in April."

    I don't see that in the article... where are you getting that from?
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  • Avatar for Darkarm66 #9 Darkarm66 2 months ago
    @Lane 'Nintendo had a really good April. Not only did the house of Mario top the charts for hardware sales thanks to both the Nintendo Switch and the NES Classic, but Mario Kart 8 was the software leader for console game sales last month.'-It's the opening paragraph.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #10 donkeyintheforest 2 months ago
    @usgmattkim then I'd say something along the lines of "fastest selling" if it's in regard to that.

    However, "most successful" could also be justified by the fact that it's got the highest rez graphics, or the most courses and racers, or it's got the most battle modes, or a combination thereof and more; but i still think it's early to call it the most successful entry based on sales (maybe unless you're willing to wager it'll surpass the Wii title's sales? I'd make that bet--I imagine a true sequel will cut off the sales before Deluxe gets to 35 million). I appreciate the time you took to make a response and USG is my fave video game site, sorry if I'm being over-picky.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #11 donkeyintheforest 2 months ago
    Deleted May 2017 by donkeyintheforest
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  • Avatar for usgmattkim #12 usgmattkim 2 months ago
    @donkeyintheforest It's cool. I just wanted to clarify some of the justifications for that line of thinking as well. Thanks for reading!
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #13 SatelliteOfLove 2 months ago
    You never see it coooo-miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin'....
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  • Avatar for franciscovillarrealh #14 franciscovillarrealh 2 months ago
    @SatelliteOfLove "It's almost scaaarrrry how good I am!"

    Though they should have, what with Persona 5 being available for most of April.
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  • Avatar for Y7748837 #15 Y7748837 2 months ago
    @Darkarm66 It sold more...because it was cheaper. Oh my god!!
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  • Avatar for Sturat #16 Sturat 2 months ago
    I don't think it makes sense to say third parties are doing well because only 3 of the top ten Switch games were published by Nintendo; depending on what you count, Nintendo's only released 3 games for the Switch at this point. Their games will be evergreen while third parties are left to peck at the leftover crumbs, like always.
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