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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 6, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Video games’ decline slows, to 11 percent in November

Video game sales fell again in November, despite massive discounts and the arrival of Nintendo’s new Wii U console.

U.S. game sales fell 11 percent in the month, according to NPD’s monthly report. That’s the smallest year-over-year decline seen so far this year, which was littered with drops in the 20 percent range.

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NPD analyst Liam Callahan said November sales weren’t that bad considering that it’s late in the life cycle of most consoles on the market today, though it’s hard to get excited about the positive notes he extracted from the monthly sales data.

“November 2012 was the lowest hardware decline for dollar sales we have seen in year-over-year trends so far this year,” Callahan said in NPD’s release.

Overall sales of physical games, hardware and accessories were $2.5 billion. Hardware sales fell 13 percent to $838.9 million, software sales fell 11 percent to $1.43 billion and accessory sales fell 8 percent to $280.9 million.

That doesn’t include sales of games distributed digitally.

Nintendo said it sold 1.75 million hardware units during the month, including nearly 910,000 handheld game systems and more than 845,000 consoles. The company said it’s the 36th time since 2004 that the company has broken 1 million units in a month.

Console sales include 420,000 units of the original Wii and Wii U consoles. Nearly 60 percent of the Wii U consoles were purchased with a copy of “New Super Mario Bros U,” which sold more than 243,000 copies in the U.S.

Nintendo said the original Wii has now sold more than 40 million units in the U.S. and the DS handheld will reach 53 million units sold in a few days. The 3DS handheld has sold nearly 6.5 million units.

Xbox did especially well, selling 1.26 million consoles in the U.S. last month, including more than 750,000 on Black Friday. November was the 23rd consecutive month that Xbox held the top console spot in the U.S. Retail sales on the platform were $1.2 billion.

Microsoft should hold its lead through December, Xbox spokesman David Dennis said.

“This was a great kick-start for the holidays for us,” he said. “I would certainly expect we’ll be the lead horse again.”

Most of the game software money must have gone to “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” which grossed $1 billion globally in its first 15 days on the market. Xbox-exclusive “Halo 4” was the second-best seller last month.

Here are the top 10 physical games sold in November:

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (360, PS3, PC, Wii U)

Halo 4 (360)

Assassin’s Creed III (360, PS3, Wii U, PC)

Just Dance 4 (Wii, 360, Wii U, PS3) (screenshot above)

Madden NFL 13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSV, Wii U)

Skylander Giants (Wii, 360, PS3, 3DS, Wii U)

Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012 (PS3, 360, PSV, PC)

NBA 2K13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, Wii U, PC)

WWE 13 (360, PS3, Wii)

FIFA Soccer 13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSV, 3DS, Wii U, PSP)

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