Yesterday, the NPD Group reported that US game sales sank 7.6 percent in November when compared to the record-setting sales of 2008. However, Microsoft is claiming that, despite a slight year-on-year dip in unit sales (836,000 vs. 819,500), last month set records for its console business.
"November was the biggest month in the history of the Xbox 360 business," Xbox 360 director of product management Aaron Greenberg told GameSpot. He declared that $838 million was spent at US retailers on Xbox 360 games, consoles, and accessories--the majority of November's $1.4 billion in domestic non-PC game sales. (With PC retail sales included, that figure rises to $1.46 billion.)
One of the major reasons Microsoft set monthly earnings records was a game not published by Microsoft at all. Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 smashed records during the month, selling more than 6 million units on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The breakdown of the game's sales on those platforms--4.1 million on the 360, 1.87 million on the PS3--added hugely to retail sales of Xbox 360 software.
Speaking with GameSpot, Xbox 360 director of product management Aaron Greenberg pointed out that the Modern Warfare 2 unit totals did not include sales of the $400 limited-edition 250GB Xbox 360 bundle that included the game. Although he declined to say how many units the bundle sold, he did say it was selling so quickly that Microsoft is considering similar bundles with other games in the future. For now, though, no stand-alone 250GB 360 or 250GB hard drive products are planned "at this time."
Unsurprisingly, Greenberg said a key reason for Modern Warfare 2's popularity on the 360 was Xbox Live. The service saw usage records shattered on the game's November 10 launch day, when 5.2 million multiplayer hours were logged. At one point, more than 2 million subscribers were playing the game concurrently, another Xbox Live record.