November already saw one record broken with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 posting the biggest launch day sales haul ever. Today the industry tracking NPD Group reported on another record that fell, as it saw the gaming industry's largest ever haul for November, though just barely.
The NPD Group reported that US game industry retail sales hit $3 billion for the month, up a fraction of a percent from last year's performance. Most of the gains came on the software front, as game sales were up 16 percent year-over-year to $1.74 billion. However, hardware sales slowed considerably (down 9 percent to $982.4 million), and accessory sales came in at $273.8 million down 34 percent due to tough comparisons with last November, when Microsoft launched the Kinect.
While Kinect sales might not have been up to their previous levels, the Xbox 360 console itself enjoyed a strong month at retail, capped off by a Thanksgiving week that saw nearly 1 million systems sold.
[UPDATE]: After the NPD numbers were released, Microsoft representatives on Twitter confirmed the Xbox 360 sold 1.7 million systems in November.
"This is the fourth consecutive month in which the Xbox 360 has been the top selling hardware system," The NPD Group noted in its release. "The gap between 360 sales and sales of the next best selling platform was the largest we've seen since December 2008 when the Nintendo DS was the top selling system."
In December 2008, the DS' 3.04 million systems sold beat out the second-place Wii's sales total by 890,000 units.
On the software side of things, Modern Warfare 3 was predictably the top slot on the charts, with the NPD saying the first-person shooter beat last year's Call of Duty: Black Ops launch month performance by 7 percent. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was another strong performer, finishing second on the charts. In fact, Bethesda's latest sold enough copies in its first month on sale to bring its total within 500,000 copies of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's lifetime sales total.
Batman: Arkham City also continued to sell well in its second month on the charts, with the NPD Group saying it is now "just shy" of Batman: Arkham Asylum's lifetime sales figure. The NPD Group also acknowledged a pair of system exclusives in Super Mario 3D Land for 3DS and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary for Xbox 360 that would have made a top 10 list based on individual SKUs but were crowded out of the final top 10 by multiplatform titles.
NOVEMBER 2011 US GAME SALES (Oct. 30 - Nov. 26)
OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Total retail sales: $3 billion (0.4%)
Total non-PC retail sales: $2.93 billion (-0.5%)
Non-PC hardware: $982.4 million (-9%)
Non-PC software: $1.67 billion (15%)
Accessories: $273.8 million (-34%)
Total software: $1.74 billion (16%)
TOP 10 GAMES FOR NOVEMBER 2011
Title (Platforms) - Publisher
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (X360, PS3, PC) - Activision
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (X360, PS3, PC) - Bethesda Softworks
3. Battlefield 3 (X360, PS3, PC) - EA
4. Assassin's Creed: Revelations (X360, PS3, PC) - Ubisoft
5. Just Dance 3 (Wii, X360) - Ubisoft
6. Madden NFL 12 (X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP) - EA
7. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3) - Sony
8. Saints Row: The Third (X360, PS3, PC) - Microsoft Game Studios
9. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii) - Nintendo
10. Batman: Arkham City (X360, PS3, PC) - Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment