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Elden Ring Predicted To Outsell Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 As 2022's Best-Selling Game In The US

It would be just the third time since 2009 that a Call of Duty game did not finish the year as the best-selling game.


Total spending on video games in the US is expected to see a year-over-year decline, the NPD Group said in findings published on Wednesday, a report that also predicted that Elden Ring will be 2022's best-selling game. This follows a previous report that said global spending on video games would see a decline this year as well, based in part on a difficult comparison to 2021, a year in which the pandemic kept people at home, playing more games, and spending more money on them.

The new report from the NPD Group also contains predictions for what are expected to the best-selling games and consoles of 2022, with Elden Ring projected to be the year's best-selling game and the Switch finishing the year as the best-selling console.

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Starting with spending, this is expected to reach $55.5 billion in 2022 in the US, down 8.7% from 2021. This number covers spending on hardware, games, and accessories.

"Some of the drivers of the decline include the return of experiential spending, higher prices in everyday spending categories such as food and fuel, the uncertain supply of video game console hardware and certain accessories such as gamepads, and a lighter release slate of games, among others," NPD said.

The growth in total number of gamers and "engagement" from 2020 and 2021--at the height of the pandemic--has now leveled off, the company said.

NPD singled out 10 games that it expects to make up the best-sellers for 2022, and they include (in alphabetical order): Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Elden Ring, God of War Ragnarok, Gotham Knights, Horizon: Forbidden West, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, Madden NFL 23, NBA 2K23, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and Pokemon Scarlet/Violet.

It will be Elden Ring that finishes 2022 as the year's best-selling game, NPD said, marking just the third time since 2009 that Call of Duty game did not finish as No. 1. The other two exceptions were 2013 (GTA V) and 2018 (Red Dead Redemption II). While Elden Ring is expected to be 2022's best-selling individual game in the US, the Call of Duty series will be the best-selling franchise in 2022 for its 14th straight year, NPD reported.

Elden Ring is already the best-selling game in the US of the past 12 months, outpacing even Call of Duty: Vanguard. By Bandai Namco's latest count, Elden Ring had shipped more than 13 million units worldwide.

Elden Ring launched in February and Modern Warfare 2 arrives at the end of October, so Elden Ring will have had lots more time on the market to rack up sales compared to Activision's shooter series. Still, it would be a big achievement for Elden Ring all the same.

For hardware, the market is not yet back to normal, the NPD said, due in part to supply constraints. The PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles are "particularly" affected here. The Switch is expected to be the best-selling console of 2022 based on units sold. However, the NPD said it's too close to call which platform will come out on top for the year based on dollar sales between Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.

Additionally, NPD claimed the Xbox Series X|S will be the only console platform to experience dollar sales growth in 2022 compared to 2021. The research firm also said it believes console shortages will continue in 2023, particularly for PS5 and Xbox Series X.

For games, spending on console, PC, and mobile titles is expected to decline, with only subscription revenue projected to see growth this year. In terms of accessories, this category should decline, too, the NPD said, though spending is projected to trend higher than pre-pandemic levels. That said, spending headsets and headphones won't be able to match the big growth during the height of the pandemic when people were buying up accessories to help with the shift to work-from-home.

"We are living in interesting times. And while, generally, the video game market can be at least partially insulated from factors impacting the wider economy, the return of experiential spending and higher pricing in everyday spending categories appear to be impacting the space," NPD said. "The continued challenges in manufacturing, particularly in bringing new consoles and accessories such as gamepads to market is also playing a role, as is the lighter release slate of premium gaming content."

The firm added: "There are many known unknowns when trying to predict what’s next, and a list of unknown unknowns that may be more extensive. In the short-term, this means likely declines, uncertainty, and turbulence. While in the long-term, the growth prospects of the video game space remain as strong as they’ve ever been."

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