The PlayStation 5 had the best launch in U.S. history, according to recent data from industry analysts NPD Group. This information comes from the firm’s market report for November 2020.
While the PS5 wasn’t the best-selling console for the month, it did sell more units and make more money than any other console launch has in U.S. history. The previous holder of these records was the PS4, which launched in 2013.
Sony did hint at this by saying that the console was their “biggest console launch ever,” but we weren’t sure it would set these kinds of records with the stock shortage prior to, during, and after launch.
Despite both the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S launching during November, it was the Nintendo Switch that sold the most units overall. Once again, this isn’t that surprising given the stock shortages seen in those new console launches.
Executive Director for NPD Group Mat Piscatella went into further detail on the report, giving his own insights, including asking the question, “How big could it have been?” if stock was more available.
We think that the key takeaway here is that had Sony and Microsoft had more stock, the number of consoles sold in November 2020 alone may have dwarfed some lifetime sales for older consoles.
Piscatella also pointed out that while Switch hardware sales are down year-on-year, it’s not a totally fair comparison. November 2019 saw the launch of Pokémon Sword and Shield, which boosts hardware sales at the time, making this year-on-year comparison difficult to judge.
Industry analyst Daniel Ahmad echoed the same points. However, he also pointed out something that’s been all too prevalent over the last month or so: scalpers.
While scalpers may have marred the most recent console generation’s launch, the industry saw a 35% jump in spending for the month. Year-to-date revenue for 2020 stood at $44.5 billion, which is up by 22% compared to the same time last year. Console sales definitely helped push this, but it was Black Friday promotional discounts that drove up spending.
This is evident in the best-selling games for the month. Eight out of the top 20 games for the month were for Nintendo Switch, thanks to healthy promotions on desirable games.