We know what American gamers have been buying the most over the last few years, and it probably won’t surprise you that Call of Duty tops the list. But it’s Rockstar‘s magnum opus, Grand Theft Auto V, that takes the cake.
US NPD SW – 2010-2019 Top 10 Sellers – Grand Theft Auto V was the best-selling game of the decade. pic.twitter.com/2xfGtaueqv
— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) January 16, 2020
The NPD group released their list of the US’s top best-selling games of the 2010-2019 decade, and it’s interesting to see what we were playing the most in microcosm. It’s not a big surprise that Grand Theft Auto V has managed to snag the top spot — I feel as though I’ve seen it in the monthly best-seller category every month since it was released.
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While the single-player game was superb and undoubtedly what drove the initial sales, it was probably the addition of the GTA Online multiplayer mode that’s kept the game in top spot. It’s a bit ironic, considering Rockstar and GTA were so infamous in the previous decade for its not-very-family-friendly content. Red Dead Redemption 2 also managed to get on the list — also not surprising considering it’s just a damned fine game.
What did surprise me just a bit was how consistently Call of Duty appears on the list. As PC Gamer pointed out, seven out of the top ten games are in the shooter franchise. All ten of the Call of Duty games released in the last ten years are in the top 20 — even the not-so-great ones. NPD’s analyst, Mat Piscatella, said on Twitter that 2019 was the 11th consecutive year CoD has been the best-selling franchise.
I’m not kidding: we really, really like Call of Duty. Just to give you some idea of how insane CoD‘s market dominance is, Modern Warfare made the number 12 spot on the list and it’s only been on the market a few months. Even Infinite Warfare made it to slot 15 and I thought everyone hated that game. But apparently even a mediocre CoD will still clean house.
It’s also fun to compare these best-sellers with the ones from the previous decade, which NPD has conveniently done in this tweet:
The NPD Group: U.S. Top 20 Best-Selling Games by Decade 2000 through 2019 ranked on dollar sales #videogames pic.twitter.com/5RmKgISbNi
— NPD Games (@npdgames) January 17, 2020
We still liked CoD and GTA in the preceding decade, but we were far more preoccupied with rocking out and playing Madden. I don’t know exactly what changed in the intervening years, other than that they just don’t make Guitar Hero or Rock Band games like they used to anymore.
Minecraft rounds out the top ten, because of course it does. Other entrants in the top 20 include Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 repping for Nintendo. Destiny, the Halo successor, takes the slot formerly occupied by Bungie’s other scifi FPS.
I’m honestly a little surprised Skyrim isn’t further up the list — it comes out at number 13 — but I’m sure that’s not for lack of trying on Bethesda’s part. I’d say better luck next time, Todd Howard, but dear god, don’t release Elder Scrolls 6 this many times. I’m begging you.