NPD: PS5 Sets New US Console Launch Records While Switch Holds Strong

NPD: PS5 Sets New US Console Launch Records While Switch Holds Strong

A strong debut for Sony hasn't stopped Switches from flying off shelves.

Let's get this out of the way up top: once again, for the thirteenth year running, the new Call of Duty has become the top-selling game of its release month. Yes, Black Ops Cold War keeps the series' sales-streak alive in this November's 2020 NPD Group report, and if this worked like killstreaks do in-game, we'd have to start worrying about a Juggernaut care package dropping in soon. But what about those fancy new consoles?

In Mat Piscatella's US-focused NPD figures, we see the same trend playing out between Sony and Microsoft that we've been hearing about over the past few weeks: the PS5 is off to a significant early sales lead over the new Xbox consoles. Sony, in fact, has achieved the highest US launch month sales (in terms of both units sold and spending) of any console in history, besting its own records set with the launch of the PS4 in 2013.

Tallied up, those $399 digital and $499 with disc consoles also put Sony on top in terms of the month's overall sales in dollars for consoles, but the Nintendo Switch—which is considerably cheaper and not as constrained in its supply at the moment—beat it in terms of units sold. That leaves Nintendo on top of the NPD's unit sales charts for two years straight, Piscatella points out.

Just shy of two weeks after release day on Nov. 12, Sony confirmed that the PS5 debut was the company's "biggest console launch ever," a victory lap that also came with a promise of more PS5 inventory arriving at retailers before the end of the year. Sony hopes to sell more than 7.6 million units by the end of the current fiscal year, which would place the PS5's early sales ahead of those for the PS4 in its own launch window.

Microsoft has celebrated the dual launch of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S as its biggest global hardware launch in history, but that supply was likely constrained relative to Sony's since Microsoft started manufacturing its consoles later in the year.

Other big winners in the month of February include Assassin's Creed Valhalla (second-best selling across all platforms) and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (third overall, but second behind Black Ops on PlayStation). Nintendo also had a strong debut with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which debuted at the sixth spot on November's top sellers list and even edged out Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which is still hanging on at number eight as people keep snapping up Switches. Again, though, Animal Crossing now sits behind two Call of Duty titles (Cold War and last year's Modern Warfare reboot) on the overall best sellers list for 2020. We'll have to wait until early January to see if Cyberpunk 2077's debut can vault it into the top three.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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