NPD: The 20 best-selling games of 2021 in the United States

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Industry tracker The NPD Group has revealed the 20 best-selling games in the US for 2021. And this list looks a lot like last year’s. If you guess Call of Duty came out on top, you’re right twice. NPD only includes games it actively follows, so don’t expect to see anything like Valheim here. Take a look at the chart, then scroll down to see the top 20 selling games for each platform.

Rank 2021 Top 20 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for Digital Leader Panel publishers) ranked by dollar sales Editor
1 Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
3 Madden NFL 22 electronic arts
4 Pokemon: Shining Diamond/Shining Pearl* nintendo
5 Battlefield 2042 electronic arts
6 Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Company)
seven Mario Kart 8* nintendo
8 Resident Evil: Village Capcom United States
9 MLB: The 21 Show ^ Sony (Company)
ten Super Mario 3D World* nintendo
11 far cry 6 Ubisoft
12 FIFA 22 electronic arts
13 Minecraft Several video game manufacturers
14 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* nintendo
15 NBA 2K22* Interactive Take-Two
16 Assassin’s Creed: Walhalla Ubisoft
17 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* nintendo
18 Back 4 Blood Warner Bros Interactive
19 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros Interactive
20 Forza Horizon 5 Microsoft (enterprise)
* Digital sales not included
^ Xbox Digital sales not included

Call of Duty’s momentum is undeniable even after 13 years topping the charts in the United States. Other franchises, like Pokémon, Madden, and NBA 2K, follow a similar pattern and are also on the list. Pokémon had a particularly good year thanks to the success of several games.

“2021 dollar sales of the Pokémon franchise’s physical software hit their highest annual total since the year 2000,” said NPD analyst Mat Piscatella.

One thing that happens with Pokémon is that the sales start to pile up over time. While millions of people are showing up to buy a new version of the series, many people are still returning to the Pokémon Switch games that debuted in previous years. Resident Evil is experiencing this same trend, and it’s led to a new all-time high for Capcom’s horror series.

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“Resident Evil: Village ended 2021 as the eighth best-selling game of the year,” Piscatella said. “Dollar sales of the Resident Evil franchise hit a new annual high for the US market.”

MLB The Show 21, meanwhile, set a record by debuting on Xbox for the first time. It was able to outperform its predecessors even though NPD does not track digital MLB sales on Microsoft hardware.

Of course, the most notable aspect of the top 20 is its familiarity.

“Seven of the 20 best-selling games of 2021 also made it into the top 20 sellers of 2020,” Piscatella said. “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mario Kart 8, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Mortal Kombat 11 all appeared on the 2021 as well as Boards best-selling titles of 2020. Mortal Kombat 11, Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Mario Kart 8 also appeared in the top 20 bestsellers of 2019.”

The game has moved from a medium where games age quickly to a medium where a five-year-old Mario Kart game can outperform the last hit Resident Evil game.

Let’s do the platform graphics.

nintendo

Rank Top 20 Games of 2021 (Physical and Full Game Digital for Digital Leader Panel Publishers) Ranked by Dollar Sales Editor
1 Pokemon: Shining Diamond/Shining Pearl* nintendo
2 Mario Kart 8* nintendo
3 Super Mario 3D World* nintendo
4 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* nintendo
5 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* nintendo
6 Monster Hunter: Rise Capcom United States
seven The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild* nintendo
8 Mario Party Superstars* nintendo
9 Pokemon: Sword/Shield* nintendo
ten The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword* nintendo
11 Metroid: Dread* nintendo
12 New Super Mario Bros.* nintendo
13 New Pokemon Snap* nintendo
14 Minecraft* nintendo
15 3D Super Mario Stars* nintendo
16 Super Mario Party* nintendo
17 Super Mario Odyssey* nintendo
18 Ring shaped adventure nintendo
19 Mario Golf: Super Rush* nintendo
20 Luigi’s Manor 3* nintendo
* Digital sales not included

PlayStation

Rank Top 20 Games of 2021 (Physical and Full Game Digital for Digital Leader Panel Publishers) Ranked by Dollar Sales Editor
1 Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 Madden NFL 22 electronic arts
3 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
4 Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Company)
5 MLB: The Show 21 Sony (Company)
6 Battlefield 2042 electronic arts
seven FIFA 22 electronic arts
8 Ghost of Tsushima Sony (Company)
9 Resident Evil: Village Capcom United States
ten far cry 6 Ubisoft
11 Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Sony (Company)
12 NBA 2K22* Interactive Take-Two
13 Assassin’s Creed: Walhalla Ubisoft
14 Minecraft Microsoft (enterprise)
15 Back 4 Blood Warner Bros Interactive
16 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) Activision Blizzard (Corp)
17 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros Interactive
18 Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Square Enix Inc (Corp)
19 Mass Effect: Legendary Edition electronic arts
20 Madden NFL 21 electronic arts
* Digital sales not included

Xbox

Rank Top 20 Games of 2021 (Physical and Full Game Digital for Digital Leader Panel Publishers) Ranked by Dollar Sales Editor
1 Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
3 Madden NFL 22 electronic arts
4 Battlefield 2042 electronic arts
5 far cry 6 Ubisoft
6 Forza Horizon 5 Microsoft (enterprise)
seven Halo: Infinite Microsoft (enterprise)
8 Assassin’s Creed: Walhalla Ubisoft
9 FIFA 22 electronic arts
ten Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) Activision Blizzard (Corp)
11 Resident Evil: Village Capcom United States
12 Mass Effect: Legendary Edition electronic arts
13 NBA 2K22* Interactive Take-Two
14 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros Interactive
15 Forza Horizon 4 Microsoft (enterprise)
16 Madden NFL 21 electronic arts
17 Back 4 Blood Warner Bros Interactive
18 MLB: The Show 21* Sony (Company)
19 Minecraft Microsoft (enterprise)
20 It takes two electronic arts
* Digital sales not included

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