Link cleaved through his competition last month with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, industry advisor Mat Piscatella of market research company The NPD Group reports. The acclaimed remaster of the Wii exclusive made history on Friday as the bestselling video game of July 2021 in the United States, with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War trailing at second place and Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin at third. That’s two Nintendo exclusives in the top three. Nintendo hasn’t dominated the monthly charts domestically since the launch of Super Mario 3D World practically decimated sales in February 2021.
Check out the trailer for Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD below:
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War isn’t the only console win Piscatella managed to track for July. Dollar sales for both console and handheld game systems enjoyed a 98% increase since July last year, clocking in at a hefty $323 million. Including hardware, content, and accessories, the United States market for video games overall earned $4.6 billion by July. This is the highest hardware gross since 2008, which boasted $447 million total, and the third-highest in tracking history. The PlayStation 5 accounts for most of those in dollar sales, while the Nintendo Switch continues to make a beeline for the top in unit sales. It’s a tight race to the pinnacle, with Nintendo leading for July 2021 and consoles at a close second.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD and Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin are both new releases. Older Nintendo titles continue to have the upper hand in terms of seniority with Mario Kart 8 jumping to number three and Mario Golf: Super Rush dropping three steps to fourth place. Animal Crossing: New Horizons lost the third spot when Skyward Sword HD and Wings of Ruin nudged the hierarchy two steps down; Super Smash Bros. Ultimate overtakes New Horizons at fifth place.
Wings of Ruin is the real winner, however, having beaten its predecessor, Monster Hunter Stories for the Nintendo 3DS, in lifetime sales by 300%. The Legend of Zelda may have decades of homeruns to be proud of, but Monster Hunter as a franchise is catching up fast.
The console charts are a little more straightforward. There are no new releases eclipsing past PlayStation and Xbox games, and Black Ops Cold War places at number one for both platforms. PlayStation exclusive Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales competes with streaming favorite Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) for runner-up. The rest of the charts largely differ based on which games are restricted to either console, with common entries in Modern Warfare, Minecraft, Resident Evil: Village, Mortal Kombat 11, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and MLB: The Show 21 — which just broke records by surpassing Resident Evil: Village as the second-highest-grossing game of 2021. With two console exclusives vying for the prize, Nintendo still has a ways to go before actually besting Sony and Microsoft in the big leagues.
For the complete lowdown on Nintendo’s burgeoning rise to the top, here’s the full Twitter report by The NPD Group’s Mat Piscatella:
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a crucial game in terms of series continuity as it marks the first time Link ventures out of Skyloft in search of his childhood friend Zelda, who has been abducted. Our favorite Hylian warrior travels below the clouds, navigating various perils and expansive landscapes to find her. The story begins with Link being a knight-in-training and ends (spoiler alert) with both Link and Zelda formally establishing the Kingdom of Hyrule. The HD version created for the Nintendo Switch packs a boatload of new features not present in the Wii release, like the ability to replicate sword and shield movements using improved motion control technology embedded in the Joy-Cons. An Amiibo figure also allows players to fast travel between the sky and the surface.