After one of the most release-heavy months of the year (or possibly of any year), Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 came out on the top of the sales charts in the U.S. according to industry-tracking firm Circana. Not only did Insomniac’s new title top the month’s best-seller chart (and was one of nine new releases to make it onto the list), it also made it to fourth place in the year-to-date bestseller chart. Video game hardware sales plummeted year-over-year, though, and video game sales overall dipped by 5%.
|October 2023 Dollar Sales, Millions||Oct
|Total Video Game Sales||$4,271||$4,036||-5%|
|Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR platforms)||$3,694||$3,562||-4%|
|Video Game Hardware||$426||$327||-23%|
|Video Game Accessories||$151||$147||-2%|
“Spending on video game content in October fell 4% when compared to a year ago, to $3.6 billion.” said Mat Piscatella, Circana’s executive producer for games reports. “Growth in physical console software and mobile spending was offset by declines in other areas, particularly digital premium downloads driven by the release date shift of Call of Duty.”
Hardware sales in general have already been slightly in decline for the last few months, though 23% is a large percentage even by comparison. That’s not to say 2023 so far is a disappointment, as hardware sales are still up 6% for the year-to-date compared with 2022. However, this brings the growth percentage of all sales to 2%.
|Year-to-Date 2023 Dollar Sales, Millions||YTD
|Total Video Game Sales||$42,701||$43,416||2%|
|Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR platforms)||$37,184||$37,640||1%|
|Video Game Hardware||$3,785||$4,025||6%|
|Video Game Accessories||$1,732||$1,751||1%|
Piscatella notes, “All current generation consoles experienced a double-digit percentage decline in dollar sales when compared to a year ago. PlayStation 5 was the best-selling hardware platform in both unit and dollar sales during October 2023. Xbox Series ranked 2nd in dollar sales, while Switch was #2 in units.” He added that the year’s overall 3% growth forecast may be at risk and could come down to Call of Duty’s end-of-year sales.
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Circana October 2023: Top 20 best-selling games in the U.S.
|1||NEW||Marvel’s Spider-Man 2||Sony (Corp)|
|2||NEW||Super Mario Bros. Wonder*||Nintendo|
|3||NEW||Assassin’s Creed: Mirage||Ubisoft|
|4||4||Madden NFL 24||Electronic Arts|
|5||3||EA Sports FC 24||Electronic Arts|
|6||2||Mortal Kombat 1||Warner Bros. Games|
|7||NEW||UFC 5||Electronic Arts|
|8||NEW||NHL 24||Electronic Arts|
|10||9||Hogwarts Legacy||Warner Bros. Games|
|11||10||Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)||Activision Blizzard (Corp)|
|12||NEW||Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1||Konami Digital Ent.|
|13||6||NBA 2K24*||Take 2 Interactive (Corp)|
|15||18||Elden Ring||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|16||7||The Crew: Motorfest||Ubisoft|
|17||NEW||Forza Motorsport (2023)||Microsoft (Corp)|
|18||11||Star Wars: Jedi: Survivor||Electronic Arts|
|19||14||Minecraft||Multiple Video Game Manufacturers|
|20||NEW||Lords of the Fallen (2023)||CI Games|
As stated, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is the biggest, best-selling game of October, just beating out Super Mario Bros Wonder. That being said, Nintendo doesn’t disclose digital sales data to Circana, so digital sales combined with physical could make the race closer. Assassin’s Creed Mirage is pulling up third despite the crowding is likely due to the franchise’s longtime appeal and the fact that it was released very early in the month and had more time to accumulate sales.
It’s perhaps not a surprise that more sports titles made it onto the list: UFC 5 and NHL 24 both joined Madden NFL 24 and EA Sports FC 24 on the list. The former two aren’t as prominent brand-wise as the latter two, but UFC in particular still has strong name recognition. NHL 24’s gameplay changes might also be part of its appeal, though the previous entry in the series also charted fairly high on last year’s list.
October really was a packed month
Having covered the NPD/Circana reports for a while, I can safely say that nine is the highest number of new games that I’ve seen on the Top 20 best-sellers list. The fact that this still doesn’t touch every single October release says a lot about how packed the month was. Alan Wake II, one of the biggest releases of the month isn’t even on the list, as Piscatella notes that it launched at the very end of the reporting period and Epic Games did not disclose digital sales to Circana.
Aside from the top three titles and the new sports titles, Sonic Superstars also made it into the month’s Top 10, which is likely due to the power of Sonic’s brand. The Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection was the next one up, with Forza Motorsport coming in just under The Crew: Motorfest. The Lords of the Fallen reboot just managed to squeak onto the list at spot 20. I’d be interested in seeing if any of October’s other releases just missed the Top 20.
Circana October 2023: Best-selling games of the year so far
|1||1||Hogwarts Legacy||Warner Bros. Games|
|2||2||The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom*||Nintendo|
|3||3||Madden NFL 24||Electronic Arts|
|4||NEW||Marvel’s Spider-Man 2||Sony (Corp)|
|5||4||Diablo IV||Activision Blizzard (Corp)|
|6||5||Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)||Activision Blizzard (Corp)|
|7||6||Star Wars: Jedi: Survivor||Electronic Arts|
|8||8||Mortal Kombat 1||Warner Bros. Games|
|10||9||Resident Evil 4 (2023)||Capcom USA|
|11||10||MLB: The Show 23^||Multiple Video Game Manufacturers|
|12||14||EA Sports FC 24||Electronic Arts|
|13||11||Dead Island 2||Plaion|
|14||12||Final Fantasy XVI||Square Enix Inc (Corp)|
|15||13||Street Fighter 6||Capcom USA|
|16||15||FIFA 23||Electronic Arts|
|17||17||Elden Ring||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|18||16||Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|19||18||Remnant II||Gearbox Publishing|
|20||19||Dead Space (2023)||Electronic Arts|
It’s actually quite surprising that, out of all the October games that made it onto the monthly best-seller list, only one made it onto the year-to-date best-seller list. It’s possible that Super Mario Bros Wonder’s undisclosed digital sales may have also put it onto this list, but we’re not likely to know. The rest of the list remains largely unchanged, with Hogwarts Legacy holding its position in the top spot and the other shuffled around slightly in October.
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