Videogame sales in March hit their highest in over a decade, as Americans turned to games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare because of lockdowns to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Sales of gaming hardware, software, and accessories in the United States jumped 35 percent to $1.6 billion (roughly Rs. 12,200 crores) last month from a year earlier, according to data from research firm NPD.

The sales and growth are the highest for the month since March 2008, when sales grew over 52 percent to $1.8 billion (roughly Rs. 13,790 crores), NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said.

Nintendo’s life-simulation title Animal Crossing: New Horizons, launched last month, topped NPD’s best-selling list, followed by Activision Blizzard’s battle blockbuster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

As the coronavirus shut down the country and forced millions inside their homes, certain businesses including gaming, online streaming and video conferencing have witnessed a boost in user engagement.

Analysts have expected gaming sales to benefit in the near-term from the stay-at-home orders.

NBA 2K20 from Take-Two Interactive Software and Sony’s baseball simulation game “MLB: The Show 20” were also among the most sold games, the data showed.

Sales of gaming consoles Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch rose 63 percent to $461 million (roughly Rs. 3,500 crores) in March from a year earlier. Nintendo Switch hardware sales more than doubled.

New-generation consoles, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5, are expected to come out at the end of the year.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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