Tears Of The Kingdom Tops The May Best-Seller List | Circana May 2023

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In what I’m sure is the most shocking news of this month, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was the best-selling game in May, according to industry-tracking firm Circana (formerly known as the NPD Group). It’s also the only new game released in May to make the list, though again that’s probably not a huge surprise to anyone. Video game sales in general — and console game sales in particular — also rose in May compared with the same period last year.

May 2023 Dollar Sales, MillionsMay


Total Video Game Sales$3,665$4,11812%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR platforms)$3,310$3,6229%
Video Game Hardware$216$33856%
Video Game Accessories$139$15914%
*Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

“Spending on video game content grew 9% in May when compared to a year ago, reaching $3.6 billion,” said Mat Piscatella, Circana’s executive producer for games reports. “Console full game and add-on content spending increased 58% when compared to May 2022, offsetting declines across Mobile and PC. New physical video game software spending reached its highest May total since May 2014.”

Last month I noted that a slight slump in sales of April’s games could be due to players saving up for Tears of the Kingdom, as it was a highly-anticipated major release. In retrospect, May sales are not drastically higher than April — it’s likely that the decline in April was therefore due to the then-ongoing effects Elden Ring and LEGO Star Wars were having on sales last year.

Year-to-Date 2023 Dollar Sales, MillionsYTD End

May 2022

May 2023
Total Video Game Sales$21,770$21,8260%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR platforms)$19,096$18,729-2%
Video Game Hardware$1,761$2,16023%
Video Game Accessories$913$9373%
*Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

“PlayStation 5 continues to lead the 2023 hardware market across both units and dollars,” added Piscatella. “Year-to-date content spending has declined 2% when compared to the same period in 2022.” He also added that, while the black PlayStation DualSense controller is the most popular accessory of the year so far, Tears of the Kingdom Series 1 Amiibo Character Pack led accessory unit sales in May.

May 2023 Circana: Top 20 best-selling games in the U.S.



1NEWThe Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom*Nintendo
26Hogwarts LegacyWarner Bros. Interactive
31Star Wars: Jedi: SurvivorElectronic Arts
42Dead Island 2Plaion
55Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)Activision Blizzard (Corp)
63MLB: The Show 23^Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
79FIFA 23Electronic Arts
810Mario Kart 8*Nintendo
92Resident Evil 4 (2023)Capcom USA
1049Far Cry 6Ubisoft
1112Elden RingBandai Namco Entertainment
1213MinecraftMultiple Video Game Manufacturers
1328The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*Nintendo
1423Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*Nintendo
1519Madden NFL 23Electronic Arts
1621God of War: RagnarokSony (Corp)
1716New Super Mario Bros.*Nintendo
1818Pokémon: Scarlet/Violet*Nintendo
1930LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker SagaWarner Bros. Interactive
2020Super Mario 3D World*Nintendo
*Digital sales not included. ^Xbox & Switch digital sales not included.

Several of the best-sellers from earlier in the year are still holding strong on the monthly bestseller charts. Jedi: Survivor and Dead Island 2 are maintaining strong spots on the list following their April launches, and Hogwarts Legacy is back up to second place (likely due to its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions launching in May). Sports games continue to chart well, and Resident Evil 4 is holding onto the top 10.

A few games jumped up the best-seller list from further down. This includes Far Cry 6, whose resurgence in popularity and sales is likely due to its Steam launch earlier this month. Similarly, LEGO Star Wars likely got a sales boost thanks to May the 4th, when all things Star Wars go on sale. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, on the other hand, likely jumped up from 28th thanks to fans’ anticipation for Tears of the Kingdom’s launch.

As stated, it’s likely not a shock that a new Legend of Zelda title made it to the top of the list. The game sold 10 million copies within three days of its launch. The franchise’s name recognition, coupled with the positive word-of-mouth and it being the sequel to the popular Breath of the Wild all played a role in its success. It’s worth noting that Circana only includes Nintendo’s physical sales data, as Nintendo doesn’t provide the firm with digital sales information, so the sales figures are likely even higher.

While Tears of the Kingdom was the biggest release in May, it wasn’t the only game that launched that month. Usually at least one other release gets on the best-seller list, even if it drops off by the time the next month comes around. However, Tears of the Kingdom is the only game from May that made it onto Circana’s best-selling list. This means that fellow May releases such as Redfall and The Lord of the Rings: Gollum didn’t even rate curiosity-based spikes in sales, likely due to bad word-of-mouth for both titles.

May 2023 Circana: 20 best-selling games of 2022 so far



11Hogwarts LegacyWarner Bros. Interactive
2NEWThe Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom*Nintendo
32Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)Activision Blizzard (Corp)
44Star Wars Jedi: SurvivorElectronic Arts
53Resident Evil 4 (2023)Capcom USA
65MLB: The Show 23^Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
76Dead Island 2Plaion
88FIFA 23Electronic Arts
97Dead Space (2023)Electronic Arts
109Madden NFL 23Electronic Arts
1110Elden RingBandai Namco Entertainment
1211The Last of Us: Part 1Sony (Corp)
1313Mario Kart 8*Nintendo
1412God of War: RagnarökSony (Corp)
1514MinecraftMultiple Video Game Manufacturers
1615Pokémon: Scarlet/Violet*Nintendo
1716Fire Emblem Engage*Nintendo
1818Sonic FrontiersSega
1917ForspokenSquare Enix Inc (Corp)
2020NBA 2K23*Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
*Digital sales not included. ^Xbox & Switch digital sales not included.

Once again, last month’s year-to-date best-sellers haven’t shifted much, except to make room in the No. 2 slot for Tears of the Kingdom. Jedi Survivor maintains a high spot on the list, not shifting down at all. Dead Space, Dead Island 2, Resident Evil 4 and Hogwarts Legacy are still ranking high on the list. As mentioned, Circana doesn’t have Nintendo’s digital sales data to factor into these charts, so it’s likely that Tears of the Kingdom is running even with, or possibly even overtaking Hogwarts Legacy in sales.

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