With the hugely successful launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, some industry analysts were expecting November's US retail game sales to exhibit much needed year-over-year growth. While a massive shock-and-awe marketing campaign for Activision and Infinity Ward's first-person shooter helped it sell 6 million copies for the month, it still wasn't enough to push the industry into positive territory.
The industry tracking NPD Group today released its US retail sales figures for November, with gaming revenues for the month adding up to $2.69 billion, down 7.6 percent from November of 2008. Breaking that number down, software sales were down a mild 3.1 percent to $1.4 billion, while hardware slumped more than 13 percent to just over $1 billion. Accessory sales made up the rest of the total, with their collective take of $242.2 million representing a 5.5 percent slide from last year's November.
The hardware sales total was hurt by a series of price cuts on the major consoles this year and the fact that last year's November saw some record numbers, including a total of 2 million Wii systems sold. Nintendo's workhorse console fared well last month, but its 1.26 million sold was still a far cry from the previous year's tally. The DSi topped all systems with 1.7 million sold, while the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 jockeyed for position with 819,500 and 710,400 sold, respectively.
As expected, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 dominated, with the standard, hardened, and prestige editions of the Xbox 360 version racking up 4.2 million copies sold. The same editions on the PS3 combined to sell 1.87 million, locking up the top two spots on the sales charts.
"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has achieved the top spot for first-month sales of any game at the title level," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said. "Halo 3 previously held the spot when it sold 3.3 million units in September '07 in 12 days at retail. MW2 bested Halo 3's daily sales rate by 16 percent in its 19 days at retail in November."
New Super Mario Bros. finished in a respectable third place with 1.39 million sold, and the month's other new releases were also represented well on the charts. The Xbox 360 edition of Assassin's Creed II took fourth place with 794,700 sold, and the PS3 edition took eighth place with 448,400 sold. Valve and Electronic Arts' Xbox 360 zombie shooter Left 4 Dead 2 debuted in fifth, selling 744,000.
The last new release on the top 10 chart, BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins on the Xbox 360, came in ninth with 362,100 sold. It edged out a surprise 10th place finisher, the April 2008 release Mario Kart Wii, which racked up 315,000 in sales. Nintendo's perennial hits Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit Plus also continued their strong sales run, finishing sixth and seventh with a respective 720,200 and 679,000 units sold.
US VIDEO GAMES INDUSTRY - NOVEMBER 2009
Hardware: $1.05 billion (-13.4%)
Software: $1.406 billion (-3.1%)
Accessories: $242.2 million (-5.5%)
Total Games: $2.699 billion (-7.6%)
TOP-SELLING HARDWARE - NOVEMBER 2009
Xbox 360: 819,500
PlayStation 3: 710,400
PlayStation 2: 203,100
TOP-SELLING SOFTWARE SKUs - NOVEMBER 2009
Title / Publisher / Units**
1) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360) / Activision / 4,200,000
2) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3) / Activision / 1,870,000
3) New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) / Nintendo / 1,390,000
4) Assassin's Creed II (360) / Ubisoft / 794,700
5) Left 4 Dead 2 (360) / Electronic Arts / 744,000
6) Wii Sports Resort (Wii) / Nintendo / 720,200
7) Wii Fit Plus (Wii) / Nintendo / 679,000
8) Assassin's Creed II (PS3) / Ubisoft / 448,400
9) Dragon Age: Origins (360) / Electronic Arts / 362,100
10) Mario Kart Wii (Wii) / Nintendo / 315,000
** = Figures include Collector's Editions and non-hardware bundles.