Red Dead Redemption 2, Black Ops 4, and Smash Ultimate are among 2018's biggest sellers


Rockstar strikes again

The NPD Group has shared its statistics for the whole of 2018 and some not-so-surprising outcomes have happened. Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 was the best selling game of 2018 followed by Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. NBA 2K and Madden then chart in third and fourth with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate coming in fifth. Surprisingly, Smash beat out God of War, Spider-Man, and Monster Hunter: World in terms of overall sales while only being on shelves for a month.

The top 20 list for 2018 looks like this:

*Does not include digital sales**Does not include PC digital sales

  • 1: Red Dead Redemption 2
  • 2: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  • 3: NBA 2K19
  • 4: Madden NFL 19
  • 5: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  • 6: Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • 7: Far Cry 5
  • 8: God of War 2018
  • 9: Monster Hunter: World
  • 10: Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • 11: Grand Theft Auto V
  • 12: Mario Kart 8*
  • 13: FIFA 19**
  • 14: Battlefield V**
  • 15:Super Mario Odyssey*
  • 16: Call of Duty: WWII**
  • 17: Dragon Ball: FighterZ
  • 18: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  • 19: Super Mario Party*
  • 20: Pokemon: Lets Go Pikachu*

As for the best selling console of 2018, that honor goes to the Nintendo Switch. It beat out the PS4 and Xbox One throughout the year but really drove it home in December. The release of Smash led to the Switch being, “the highest December-month hardware dollar sales for a single platform since the Nintendo Wii in December 2009.” It even achieved the highest unit sales for a single-platform since December of 2010.

As far as December was concerned, Smash may as well have been the only game on sale. It dominated the monthly chart along with six other Nintendo exclusives. “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate set a new launch-month dollar sales record for a platform exclusive in Video Game history,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella reports. “Packaged software launch month dollar sales of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate exceeded those of the previous best in franchise history, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, by over 70 percent.” It has also become the fastest selling console exclusive to ever be tracked by the NPD.

December’s top 20 list is as follows:

  • 1: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  • 2: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4**
  • 3: Red Dead Redemption II
  • 4: Battlefield V**
  • 5: NBA 2K19
  • 6: Mario Kart 8*
  • 7: Madden NFL 19**
  • 8: Super Mario Party*
  • 9: Pokemon: Lets Go Pikachu*
  • 10: Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • 11: Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • 12: Pokemon: Lets Go Eevee*
  • 13: Super Mario Odyssey*
  • 14: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  • 15: Just Cause 4
  • 16: FIFA 19
  • 17: Grand Theft Auto V
  • 18: Minecraft
  • 19: Spyro Reignited Trilogy**
  • 20: Fallout 76*

With all of that laid out, I’m mostly surprised at how ridiculously well Smash did. Both God of War and Spider-Man broke records for Sony, yet Smash still topped them without breaking a sweat. This isn’t even including digital sales of Smash, which likely put it even higher. I guess people were really clamoring for the latest entry in Nintendo’s all-star brawler.

Console hardware sales may have been down, but 2018 seemed to push software sales for everyone. Madden broke August records, Monster Hunter: World quickly became Capcom’s best selling title, and even Spyro dominated charts. Here’s hoping 2019 continues some of that steam.

December 2018 NPD: Smash Bros. beats Spider-Man in exclusives battle [Venture Beat]

NPD 2018: The 20 best-selling games of the year [Venture Beat]