November gaming sales down 11 percent, NPD says

We're not going to give you any hints about which game led the NPD Group's November retail sales figures in the U.S., we're just all going to say it together, ok? We're totally psychic, don't worry. Ok.... NOW! Call of Duty: Black Ops 2! Yes! We did it!

Now that we've confirmed our amazing mental link, we can get back to the rest of the news. NPD reports overall sales were down 11 percent year-over-year in November, the least precipitous drop of the year (especially compared to October's 25 percent.) While it almost surely means a diminished holiday season for games, it's actually not that bad taken in the proper historical context.

"It's important to compare this month's results to November 2005, which was the last time the industry began to transition between console generations with the launch of a new platform," said NPD analyst Liam Callahan. "Comparing this month's results to November 2005, retail video games sales are nearly twice as big as they were then (+97 percent). This really demonstrates the long-term health of retail sales even as many platforms are quite late in their lifecycles."

Callahan also pointed out that fewer games released this November than last, and this year's top five saw 5 percent greater sales.

Hardware-wise, Xbox 360 once again led the dance with 1.26 million units sold, according to Xbox Live's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb, and PS Vita had its second best month of sales since launch. Meanwhile Wii U moved 425,000--right about where it was previously reported--and not a one of its exclusive titles managed to crack the top 10. Not surprising given that relatively few people actually own a console to play them on, of course.

November 2012 Top 10 Games
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (360, PS3, PC, Wii U) Activision Blizzard
2. Halo 4 (360) Microsoft
3. Assassin's Creed III (360, PS3, Wii U, PC) Ubisoft
4. Just Dance 4 (Wii, 360, Wii U, PS3) Ubisoft
5. Madden NFL 13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSV, Wii U) Electronic Arts
6. Skylanders Giants (Wii, 360, PS3, 3DS, Wii U) Activision Blizzard
7. Need For Speed: Most Wanted 2012 (PS3, 360, PSV, PC) Electronic Arts
8. NBA 2K13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, Wii U, PC) Take-Two Interactive
9. WWE 13 (360, PS3, Wii) THQ
10. FIFA Soccer 13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSV, 3DS, Wii U, PSP) Electronic Arts




  • Letter11 - December 7, 2012 6:48 p.m.

    NPD Doesn't report digital sales right? I wonder if the proliferation of online sales will eventually make their statistics irrelevant.
  • ObliqueZombie - December 7, 2012 4:31 p.m.

    Whenever I read things like this, whether about the gaming sales as a whole or a company's fiscal year, I always think "Oh waah, we're not as rich as last year." I mean, I know some companies are struggling, and I understand the reporting of this, but it seems trivial. Then again, I'm not an economy sort of guy.
  • D0CCON - December 7, 2012 1:05 p.m.

    It also felt like last November had more huge releases as well, but that just might mean that almost every big release appealed to me a ton and there are some this year that I'm not overly interested in.
  • MrJP - December 7, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    'Meanwhile Wii U moved 425 million' ? Think that needs altering.
  • Connor Sheridan - December 7, 2012 11:51 a.m.

    Haha, good catch!

Showing 1-6 of 6 comments

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