In brief: The video game industry experienced a healthy 2018 led in part by the phenomenal success of the Nintendo Switch and its hit exclusive, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2 also had a strong showing, as did Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
The Nintendo Switch finished 2018 as the year’s best-selling hardware platform in terms of both unit sales and dollar amount according to NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella via Twitter.
December was huge for Nintendo. The Switch generated the highest December unit sales for a single platform since December 2010 and the highest hardware dollar sales for a single platform since the Wii in December 2009, Piscatella said.
On the software side, Red Dead Redemption 2 was the best-selling game of 2018 followed by Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, NBA 2K19, Madden NFL 19 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, in that order. According to NPD, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate set a new launch month dollar sales record for a platform exclusive, besting 2010’s Halo: Reach.
Nintendo said last month that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was the fastest-selling Switch game of all time, selling more than three million copies in its first 11 days on the market.
Annual spending in the video game industry increased 13 percent in 2018 to $16.7 billion, up from $14.7 billion a year earlier. It’s the highest total tracked since 2011 when consumers spent $17.4 billion on video games.