This doesn’t affect Apple Arcade, Apple’s game streaming service, as well as the rumored Apple game controller, but it could have a residual effect: according to The NPD Group, March tracked spending across video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards totaled US$1.6 billion, gaining 35%when compared to the same time period last year.
This is the highest reported spend for a March month since the $1.8 billion achieved in March 2008. Year-to-date 2020 (Q1) tracked spending across these categories totaled $3 billion, declining 4 percent when compared to Q1 2019.
The first two months of this year saw cumulative sales across video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards fall 28% to $1.4 billion when compared to the same time period last year, with January sales declining 26 percent, and February sales falling 29%.
Late cycle video game hardware dynamics, as well as a lighter new release software slate, drove the variance.
All video game categories, however, experienced double-digit sales increases in March, with hardware, software, and accessories & game cards increasing 63 percent, 34 percent, and 12 percent, respectively.
“As communities have practiced social distancing and observed stay at home orders across the United States over the past weeks, many people have turned to video games as a means of finding connections. Whether together on the couch playing locally, or playing online, gaming has generated increased engagement, which has resulted in corresponding increases in consumer spend,” said Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at The NPD Group.
Nine of the top 10 best-selling video games of March 2020 generated higher dollar sales than similarly ranked titles a year ago. Dollar sales of tracked video game software grew to $739 million, the highest total for a March month since 2011.
Hardware spending in March 2020 grew to $461 million and first quarter hardware spending increased by 2%, to $773 million. Total March 2020 spending on accessories and game cards reached $397 million, a record high for accessories and game cards in a March month.
Apple Arcade has over 100 games for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS devices. It costs $4.99/month or $49.99/year.