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% to $1.6 billion 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% to $1.8 billion, 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, Inc.’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, Inc. 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% to $461 million in March from a year earlier. Nintendo Switch hardware sales more than doubled.

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