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December 2011 NPD sales: Modern Warfare 3, Just Dance 3, Skyrim, Mario Kart 7 the biggest winners

It’s the time of the month when the NPD group, watchers of sales figures for games in the US, drops a bunch of stats on us, informing the masses what the best-selling games were for a given month. This time we look at the last part of the big holiday sales rush, so you might be wondering just what the most successful games of the holidays were. And once you see the top ten list for December, you’ll be hit with a resounding, “duh!”

Top Ten games (based on combined sales of every version)

1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
2. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)
3. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PS3, PC)
4. Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
5. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
6. Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2)
7. Assassin's Creed: Revelations (360, PS3, PC)
8. NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC)
9. Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)
10. Batman: Arkham City (360, PS3, PC)

Just like Black Ops, Modern Warfare 3 looks unstoppable, taking the number one position just like it did last month. Even though we shouldn't be at this point, Just Dance 3 shocked us by grabbing the second highest spot, as it was relegated to fifth place last month, but it must have been in bigger demand during the actual holiday month. Maybe it’s all due to Pres Obama buying it.

Skyrim dropped one spot compared to November, but is still doing crazy good (especially for a fantasy game), and the popularity of Mario Kart 7 in its first month on sale is very remarkable. Unlike most of the games on this list, it got that high while being console exclusive on a handheld with a comparatively small audience. Will this Mario Kart end up being on the list for months on end like Mario Kart Wii and DS were?

Battlefield is showing some very impressive longevity, but based on positive reactions to the multiplayer and the huge number of ads out there, it makes sense. All the rest were predictable (never underestimate Assassin’s Creed), though NBA 2K12 and Mario 3D Land made big gains by appearing in the top ten after missing the previous month's list. Meanwhile, we’re not sure yet just how other blockbusters like Skyward Sword, Saints Row The Third, Gears of War 3 and Uncharted 3 did, other than that they missed the all-important top ten.

As for console sales, the hardware owners have yet to reveal those, though early word is that the 360 won the month and the year in sales. We’ll be updating this story as we find out more.

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