GamesIndustry.biz analyzed the data from Games Sales Data (GSD) for March, as well as the sales chart of the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE).
GSD tracks digital retail data from 50 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and physical sales data from 17 countries (mainly Europe and Southeast Asia plus Australia).
The data was obtained either from retailers (in case of physical retail) or from publishers (among GSD partners are Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and many others).
The key figures
During Week 12 (from March 16 to 22), 4.3 million games were sold (63% more than the week before). One of the growth factors is the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons . Even if you do not take it into account, sales growth were up 44%, which is pretty impressive anyway.
Game sales across digital platforms (Steam, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Nintendo Eshop ) during Week 12 generated 2.74 million. This is 52.9% more than a week before. This does not include the sales of the two main March blockbusters – Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom: Eternal (Bethesda and Nintendo do not share digital sales of their games).
In countries where lockdown is declared, digital sales have grown even more. For example, in France, where the movement of people was limited since March 17, digital sales increased by 180% during Week 12. Spain quarantined on March 14 saw a 142% surge during Week 11 (March 9-15) and a 23% uptick in sales a week later.
Italian citizens have been isolated since March 9th. During the first week of the lockdown, digital game sales in the country showed a 174% increase. During the second week, sales dropped by 11%, but still remained at a much higher level than is usual for the country.
In countries where the lockdown measures were not introduced in mid-March, there has also been an increase in digital sales. The UK saw a 67% uptick, in Germany downloads rose 60%, and in Australia – 26%.
In the 17 countries covered by GSD, weekly sales of video games from March 16 to 22 totalled 1.58 million copies. This is 82% more than a week earlier. However, if you do not take into account the sales of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom: Eternal, then the growth was only 10%.
But again, the situation is different from country to country. In the UK, sales grew by 218%. Or 83% if we factor these blockbusters out. Similarly, in Australia, sales grew 278% with Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom: Eternal, and 86% without them.
In countries where lockdown was already in place during Week 12, the situation is different. For example, in France, sales of physical copies including Animal Crossing grew by 70%, but without they fell by 1.5%. The situation is worse in Spain and Italy, where physical sales dipped by 50% and 48% respectively (not including Animal Crossing).
For March 16-22, 259 thousand units were sold. This is 155% more than a week earlier.
Important: the lockdown in a number of countries had less impact on console sales than on the sales of physical copies of games. For example, in Italy, in the first week of the lockdown (March 9–15), sales jumped 84%, while the second week saw a slight decrease (1.8%). In Spain, during Week 11, when the lockdown was imposed, console sales jumped by 27.7%, and then by 66.1% the following week. In France, in the first week of quarantine, they increased by 140.6%.
In the UK, amid the health crisis, people also began to actively buy gaming devices. Console sales during Week 11 increased by 126.6%, then an additional 250% the next week. In Australia, from March 16 to 22, console sales rose 285.6%.
Obviously, peak sales of game consoles will now lead to a drop in sales in future months. However, given the increased audience of console owners, game sales themselves (primarily in the digital segment) are likely to continue to grow.