The NPD Group shared its research into video game market results for August 2020. The research reveals that Madden NFL 21 was the best-selling game in August, despite its August 28 release date. It is currently the sixth best-selling game this year. Madden 21 beat out another EA sports game, UFC 4, for the top spot. Mat Piscatella over at The NPD Group posted a video discussing the research which featured Madden 21 in its own slide.
US NPD SW – Madden NFL 21 was the best-selling title of August, with double-digit percentage dollar sales growth when compared to the release month of Madden NFL 20. Madden NFL 21 debuts as the #6 best-selling game year-to-date. pic.twitter.com/YAIuXzKrye
— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) September 14, 2020
There are some powerful stats here. In the first week of September, EA circulated numbers from release week. EA announced that sales during the first week of Madden 21 were up 20% from Madden 20’s sales. On Twitter, the Madden NFL account shared an infographic that showed almost 50% more engagement in Madden 21 than in Madden 20. The NPD Group’s report confirms that momentum has not slowed down. Madden 21 continues the series’ streak of best-selling debuts, with 21 consecutive years as the best-selling game in its release month. According to The NPD Group, Madden 21 has double-digit growth in sales over Madden 20 in its release month. The NPD Group’s report covers August 2 to August 29. This implies that Madden 21 became the best-selling game in August in only two days.
The Video Game Sales Environment
Stats like these deserve some context. In a press release, The NPD Group announced that second-quarter spending on video games (from April to June) reached its highest total in U.S. history. It’s easy to imagine how these sales shot up. Most states entered quarantine for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic starting in late March. You could track this rise in sales in real-time, with things like Ring Fit Adventure and the Nintendo Switch Lite suddenly selling out. Between jobs shifting to Work From Home and workers being furloughed or laid off, there’s a void that gaming has filled.
We can analyze EA’s 20% increase as well. While Madden 21 did top August’s sales, game sales in August 2019 were the lowest they’ve been in 20 years This year’s sales have been historically high, but even an average year would have seen an increase year-over-year.
All of this to say, Madden NFL 21 reached best-seller status in the same month where it received the lowest User Score in Metacritic history. In spite of multiple viral hashtags asking for sweeping changes to the Madden franchise, the game outsold Madden 20 by double-digit percentages. Madden NFL continues to be the best-selling sports franchise in U.S. history.