August might have been a hot coronavirus-infected mess for many people, but it was a fine month for the video game industry. According to data compiled by market researcher The NPD Group, video game sales leaped 37% higher on a year-over-year basis during the month to land at $2.9 billion.

That's adding some pixels onto the year-to-date amount. Calendar 2020 sales now tally $25.9 billion, representing a 22% improvement over the same period of 2019.

Person on a couch playing a video game.

Image source: Getty Images.

The major factor in this rise is, of course, the coronavirus pandemic. Video games are an easy go-to entertainment option for consumers with the right equipment. The extra hours spent at home these days have to be filled somehow.

The pandemic isn't the only reason for the dramatic rise, however.

August saw the release of several new titles in long-running and popular series. Notable among these was the No. 1-selling Madden NFL 21 from Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), which topped the charts despite only officially getting released for multiple platforms in the final days of the month. That performance is par for the course since Madden is the bestselling video game franchise in history.

Electronic Arts also took the No. 2 position for August with another new athletic title, EA Sports UFC 4. The game has been released on Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One and Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4.

As for other companies in the segment, Nintendo (OTC:NTDOY) had a strong position on the bestseller list, taking exactly half of the top 20 slots. Its bestseller in August was the buzz-worthy Animal Crossing: New Horizons