Call of Duty And Other Hits Drive 2012 Sales, Mid-Tier Games Suffer

By Ishaan . January 10, 2013 . 4:00pm

The Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in December, selling over 1.4 million units during the month in the U.S., reports Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg.


Despite the Xbox 360’s strong performance, however, hardware sales in December were down 20%, and down 27% for the entire year, as compared to 2011, according to the NPD Group’s monthly report.


On the software front, sales were down in December by 26% and year-round by 23% at retail, owing to a lack of new releases. The NPD Group report that there were 29% less SKUs across consoles, portables, and PCs in 2012, and that sales were driven primarily by hits like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which is also the best-selling game of 2012. In fact, while Black Ops 2 was the #1 seller, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 took the #8 spot.


“In December 2012, positive trending for many annualized franchises like Call of Duty, Skylanders, Assassin’s Creed, and FIFA, points to consumers’ increased spending on hits, but that middle-tier games as well as catalog titles are suffering,” the NPD Group report.


The top ten best-selling games in December were as follows:


Rank Title System Publisher
01. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 360, PS3, Wii U, PC Activision Blizzard
02. Just Dance 4 Wii, 360, Wii U, PS3 Ubisoft
03. Halo 4 360 Microsoft
04. Assassin’s Creed III 360, PS3, PC, Wii U Ubisoft
05. Madden NFL 13 360, PS3, Wii, PSV, Wii U Electronic Arts
06. Far Cry 3 360, PS3, PC Ubisoft
07. NBA 2K13 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, PSP, PC Take 2
08. Skylanders Giants Wii, 360, PS3, 3DS, Wii U Activision Blizzard
09. New Super Mario Bros. 2 3DS Nintendo
10. FIFA Soccer 13 360, PS3, Wii, PSV, Wii U, 3DS, PSP Electronic Arts


Meanwhile, December’s total industry sales fell by 22%, and so did industry sales throughout the entirety of 2012.


Point cards for download services are doing well, however, the NPD Group report. This is a sign of the increasing significance of digital sales. “This marked the best December ever for point and subscription card sales on a unit and dollar basis,” their analysis reads.


“2012 was also the best year for point card and subscription card sales as gamers sought digital content on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Nintendo’s eShop. Games like Journey and Minecraft broke records for number of games downloaded.”

  • kylehyde

    Nintendo 3DS sold more than 1.25 million units
    Nintendo DS sold nearly 470,000 units
    Wii sold nearly 475,000 units
    Wii U sold nearly 460,000 units

    from nintendo pr.

  • malek86

    Wii U numbers are pretty bad. Granted a new console launching at a high price point and with few games isn’t gonna do great, but these are even lower than the PS3 during its first December. Now we know that Nintendoland is no Wii Sports 2 (though there was little doubt).

    At least 3D numbers are finally looking ok, although not great (much lower than the DS during its best months, obviously, but even the less phenomenal GBA usually did 2+ millions in December). But perhaps Pokemon will help turn it around. We’ll see next year how things go.

    As for the 360 and PS3, little to say at this point. Overall the market is really shrinking, and I’m not sure that new consoles will be the solution. Something is changing in the landscape. The next generation of consoles+handhelds probably isn’t gonna sell nearly as much as this one.

    • The Next Gen of Hardware will include Flying cars and unbreakable-yet-bendable-like-a-rubber-card smartphones. Also, The PS4 and XBOX 720 aren’t really the answer, I agree with that. Looks like this Gen will be going on for a few more years!

    • kylehyde

      Well 3DS didn’t have a key game for the holiday season like in the 2011 when they released Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. So considering this, is really surprising that 3DS surpassed the million, I think that 3DS is beginning to gain awereness on the consumers.

      • malek86

        NSMB2 and Paper Mario should have been the sales catalyst for this year, but they didn’t do as well as SM3DL and Mario Kart.

        Anyway, for a Nintendo handheld to surpass a million should never be surprising. In fact, it skirting so close to that limit means there’s some trouble that needs to be solved yet. Software sales in general aren’t very good, so there’s that. Pokemon will help things along, but it can’t do it alone.

        Maybe I’m overly pessimistic, but in my economics courses they always told me that you should look at things with a cynical eye. Makes it easier to be on the edge and react swiftly to weaknesses.

  • I hate COD, so very, very much. This is just disappointing, but expected.

    • Luna Kazemaru

      Yet so many people like it

      • Well, I don’t, and if they want to keep buying COD games, that choice is theirs.

        • Luna Kazemaru

          Wow i didn’t get a childish come back over cod ….there is a god! Lol just joking but yeah the game isn’t for everyone.

    • almostautumn

      They’re really fun multiplayer games. Why hate them?

      • I don’t share that same opinion, and besides, there are plenty of better games out there.

      • Luna Kazemaru

        I find the single player more enjoyable honestly.

        • Ferrick

          well if you play CoD for the sake of gameplay, i don’t think its that bad, but if you play it for the story…, well its almost like watching pr0n for story, but that’s to me though (because i play games solely for the storyline, or lore if the game had none)

      • NTaiyokun

        It’s overrated

  • Ferrick

    No.1 seriously doesn’t deserve it… if only people had more common sense…

    • LinkofCourage

      Common sense is to buy the game you don’t want?

      • Luna Kazemaru

        No its to play what you like.

        • Yes, it’s to buy/play what you like. But also, to choose to do it without any outside influence. To choose what is right to you and for you. Ah, but just know that common sense isn’t exactly of one flavor. As there are many cultures, there are also a lot of points of view in how they think is the “right” thing to do.

          To me, one could say that CoD was a logical choice to get for some people. That was their common sense. And it shows with the sales numbers.

    • Luna Kazemaru

      Haha cute

      • Ferrick

        ikr, i think my nose brings out the beauty in me

    • Read the site rules please.

      Don’t do this again.

  • TheDarkEmpress

    Lack of new releases and the fact that the market is flooded by rehashes and generally mediocre titles….Producers push too hard to make release dates instead of focusing on substance….hats off to the ones that still push back release dates for final polishing/bug-fixes as opposed to cutting content…Alot of gamers have lost faith in the market and instead opt for several reviews/borrowing/or waiting to buy used instead of getting burned on a day 1 purchase. I know I have…I spent close to a grand last year on day 1 buys and was completely disappointed with a majority of them, not making the same mistakes this year.

    For some reason this entire generation of gaming has been lackluster at best in ALL genres except FPS…it feels like the PS3/360 simply have not reached their apex like the PS2 did as far as good releases go…I feel like I’ve spent the past 7 years waiting for good releases (I got a few, mind you) but nothing like the previous gen.

  • Cod is no different than pokemon. It’s a very popular game made well that is the same game with slight changes. The only difference is people don’t seem to mind pokemon coming out every year.

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