Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Multiplayer

A trio of classic franchises is dominating the gaming world despite an overall decline in video game sales.

Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare nabbed the top spot on the video game charts for a second month, maintaining its position as the best-selling game of the year to date. Electronic Arts’ (EA) Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was the biggest of the new releases to move the needle, charting at No. 2 for November while instantly becoming the No. 9 best-selling game of the year. Ahead of this month’s theatrical release for Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and last month’s Disney+ debut of The MandalorianStar Wars Jedi: Fallen Order rode the wave of intergalactic excitement to the second-highest launch month for any Star Wars game in U.S. history. The game also scored the highest launch month in total dollar sales for a game developed by Respawn Entertainment.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield charted in the No. 3 and No. 5 spots, respectively, with the combined Pokémon Sword/Pokémon Shield Double Pack charting at No. 4. The combined debut created the highest launch month in dollar sales for any Pokémon release in U.S. history.

Despite some bright spots, according to the NPD Group, overall sales for the entire video game category — including hardware, software, and accessories — was $2.3 billion, a 19% decline versus last year. In terms of overall software sales, this November’s $926 million was a 14% decrease from the same period last year. Year-to-date spending for the video game category is $11.6 billion, a 12% decline over last year.

The overall decline in gaming is typical for years on the cusp of next-generation system launches, which will occur next year. The Sony Playstation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X are slated to debut next holiday season.

In the meantime, the Nintendo Switch remains the best-selling gaming platform of the year with steady increases in both hardware and software sales. The platform-exclusive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is now the best-selling fighting game in U.S. history.

Photo: Activision

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.