2018 is off to a good start for the gaming industry. Revenues in January were up 59 percent year-over-year and generated $1.096 billion, according to the industry-tracking firm The NPD Group .
The big winner is Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World, which was the best-selling game for the month despite launching January 26. The series has always beenpopular in Japan, and it’s one of the publisher’s most successful franchises . It doubled down on Western audiences with Monster Hunter: World, focusing on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 rather than Nintendo systems. It also introduced a more open-world feel. Capcom’s efforts paid off, and it sold over 5 million copies of the game in the first weekend alone.
“Sales of Monster Hunter: World represent an all-time launch month high for the Monster Hunter franchise in the U.S.,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said.
Here are the numbers for January 2018:
The NPD now reports PC and console software sales together. The report doesn’t cover total market spend, and it is missing certain data. It is more of a snapshot of the market as a whole, using data from participating publishers and platforms.
* No PC digital sales
** No digital sales
Capcom was the top publisher for the month, thanks to Monster Hunter: World hitting the target. But the Dragon Ball franchise also had a successful month. Dragon Ball Fighterz from developer Arc System Works and publisher Bandai Namco ranked as the No. 2 best-selling game, and Dragon Ball: Xenoverse came in at No. 16.
“Launch month sales of Dragon Ball Fighterz were the highest for a Dragon Ball franchise release since Dragon Ball Z: Budokai, which released in December 2002,” said Piscatella.
PUBG Corp.’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is also creeping up the top-selling list, rising from No. 7 in December to No. 4. The popular battle royale game launched on Xbox One on December 12 and sold more than 3 million copies within a month.
It was a booming month for hardware, which was up 119 percent year-over-year and generated $278 million. NPD reports that consumers bought more than 1 million consoles, the highest number since January 2011. The Nintendo Switch sold the most systems, but Sony’s PlayStation 4 generated the most revenue. Microsoft’s Xbox One rounds out the top-three consoles for the month.
“PlayStation 4, Switch and Xbox One all performed well in the month of January,” said Piscatella. “In dollar sales, the gap between the top-selling platform and the third best-selling was only three percent.”
Aside from the Switch, Nintendo also saw a resurgence of interest in the 3DS. The handheld console sold the most in January since the same time period in 2013.
The accessories category had a record January, generating $301 million. Consumers were mainly interested in headsets, and Turtle Beach was the best seller of the month.