It was another huge year for Nintendo in 2018, with the company’s Switch raking in the most sales of any console for the year in the U.S. According to a report from analyst firm The NPD Group, Nintendo helped lead an 8% increase in hardware sales, pushing the overall total to $5.1 billion.
Nintendo wasn’t the only console maker seeing gains in 2018, though. Analyst Mat Piscatella wrote in NPD’s press release on its report that Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox One, and other plug-n-play devices all saw sales gains in 2018 over where they landed in 2017. NPD did not reveal any sales totals or dollar amounts in its report.
The Switch was inarguably the winner in hardware according to NPD, though, especially in December. In 2018, Nintendo made more money on console hardware than any company had since Sony took 2015 with the PS4. Nintendo’s December 2018 Switch sales were higher for that month than any year since 2009—the year Nintendo had another huge December with sales of its Wii console.
Nintendo’s big win was reflected in software sales, as well. It had seven of the 20 top-selling games of 2018, which includes December’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which came fifth in sales for the year.
Another big factor in hardware sales, according to NPD: Fortnite. The firm doesn’t track software numbers for the free-to-play game, but Piscatella took to Twitter to remark on Fortnite’s impact on the industry.
But really, the real story of 2018 is Fortnite. Its impact across Hardware, Accessories and Game Cards cannot be overstated. And even though we don’t track Fortnite software in this tracking, its impact on Software overall was absolutely massive and has changed the industry.
— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) January 22, 2019
Apparently, Fortnite has players buying lots of new gamepads and headsets. Piscatella wrote in his release that 2018 saw a 33% increase in sales of accessories and game cards in 2018, up to an all-time high of $4.5 billion. «The DualShock 4 Black, Switch Pro Controller and the Xbox One S Wireless Controller White were the three best-selling accessories of 2018 in dollar spend,» he wrote, with headsets also contributing.
A huge part of that spending took place in December 2018, when consumers spent $1 billion on accessories and game cards—an increase of 29% over December 2017. The big seller in December: the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
NPD also ran down the best-selling software of 2018 and for December, with Red Dead Redemption 2 coming in first for the year.