March is usually a busy month for releases, given that it is the last month of the fiscal quarter for most companies and the end of the fiscal year for others. So winning the month is an accomplishment to be lauded. Congratulations, Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
Wildlands took the top spot in U.S. sales in NPD's latest report, leading in overall sales, and on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 platforms. It did so well that it topped the list for the first quarter as well, despite coming out on March 7. NPD analyst Sam Naji said that Wildlands had the best launch of any Ghost Recon title ever, and only lagged behind The Division as the top Tom Clancy game launch.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a strong #2. Nintendo had already reported NPD's numbers that Breath of the Wild sold more than 1.3 million copies in the United States in March, making it the best Zelda launch title ever. The game sold 925,000 units alone for Switch, "with an attach rate of 99 percent to the Switch hardware," Naji said. "This is the highest attach rate for any non-bundled title for a new gaming platform since NPD began tracking in 1995." Unsurprisingly, the game was also the top seller on the Wii U.
Coming in at #3 was the much maligned Mass Effect: Andromeda, but despite some early tech issues and controversies, the game ended up being the second-best Mass Effect launch title behind ME3. Finishing third is actually pretty remarkable, given that the game launched on March 24 (a few days earlier for Origin and EA Access members), and the NPD tracking period ended April 1. Andromeda ranked second on the Xbox One and thrid on PS4.
Horizon Zero Dawn, which launched on Feb. 28 as a PS4 exclusive, and MLB 17: The Show, rounded out the top 5 respectively. Despite the February launch, this is the first month Zero Dawn was tracked, as the NPD tracking start date was Feb. 26. While we don't have the exact U.S. numbers, Sony reported that the outstanding Guerrilla Games title had sold more than 2.6 million units worldwide two weeks after launch, making it the best launch for Guerrilla in its history..
Pokemon Sun and Moon continued to top the sales charts for the mobile market.
The release of Switch and all the great games launched in March boosted overall video game spending, which includes hardware, software and accessories, to more than $1.3B, or a jump of 24% over last year. "The growth in total physical sales for March 2017 reversed nine consecutive months of year-on-year declines since May 2016," Naji said.