December A “Rough Month” For Videogame Sales In U.S.


Gather around, kiddies; it’s that time of the month. The NPD Group’s report for December is in, and NPD analyst, Anita Frazier, says that December was a “rough month” for physical sales of games software, hardware and accessories. For starters, total videogame sales in December were down 21% compared to 2010.


“Because of the great slate of content that came to market during the fourth quarter, I had expected December sales to represent a larger portion of total year sales than what occurred,” Frazier says. “This year, December accounted for just 23% of annual sales, while the average for the past ten years has been 28.”


Hardware sales in December were hit particularly hard. The Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS were the only consoles to see a sales increase from November, which is unusual as this trend is usually visible across all platforms. Total spend in 2011 was down 5%.


That said, 2011 was bright for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, both of which saw increased sales of 5% across all categories over 2010.


The top-10 software sales chart for December 2011 was as follows:


Rank Title System Publisher
01. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 PS3, 360, Wii, PC Activision Blizzard
02. Just Dance 3 PS3, 360, Wii Ubisoft
03. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PS3, 360, PC Bethesda Softworks
04. Mario Kart 7 3DS Nintendo
05. Battlefield 3 PS3, 360, PC Electronic Arts
06. Madden NFL 12 PS3, 360, Wii, PSP, PS2 Electronic Arts
07. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations PS3, 360, PC Ubisoft
08. NBA 2K12 PS3, 360, Wii, PC, PSP, PS2 Take 2 Interactive
09. Super Mario 3D Land 3DS Nintendo
10. Batman: Arkham City PS3, 360, PC Warner Bros.


Two more things to note about the software sales chart:

1. Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC-only) was the 14th best-selling title in December.


2. Were the software sales chart ranked by sales on individual consoles, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword would have been the 10th best-selling SKU for the month.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.