NPD: Black Ops II is US top-selling game of 2012

Research group reveals latest Call of Duty not only December's top game, but entire year's; overall 2012 industry sales down 22 percent to $13.26 billion; Xbox 360 sells 1.4 million during month, Wii U total US reach 890,000.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II was the United States' best-selling game for December and all of 2012, research firm NPD Group announced today. This year marks the fourth consecutive year in which a Call of Duty game has been the top-selling title.

Overall, total video game sales for December slid 22 percent to $3.21 billion, while the total year's haul hit $13.26 billion, down 22 percent from last year's total of $16.99 billion. NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan cautioned that this figure only represents new physical retail sales of hardware, software, and accessories, and makes up just 50 percent of total consumer spend.

"When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in December such as used and rentals at $217 million, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including microtransactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and the consumer spend on social network games at $765 million, we would estimate the total consumer spend in December to be over $4.1 billion," Callahan said in a statement.

Hardware also took a hit during December (-20 percent to $1.07 billion) and for all of 2012 (-27 percent to $4.04 billion). Callahan said Wii U sales were lower on a unit basis when compared to the original Wii in December 2006, but due to the Wii U's higher price, the system generated 11 percent more dollar sales year-to-date than the Wii by the end of 2006.

Separately, Microsoft announced that it sold 1.4 million Xbox 360 consoles during December. According to the Halo maker, that represents more than double the next closest competitor. Total consumer spend on the Xbox 360 platform (games, hardware, accessories) totaled $1.27 billion for the period. The Xbox 360 has now been the top-selling console in the United States for 24 straight months.

Nintendo also chimed in, saying the Wii U sold 460,000 units in December, boosting the system's total US tally to 890,000. In all, Wii U hardware sales have generated $300 million, $30 million better than the original Wii did during the same period of time. Additionally, New Super Mario Bros. U has now sold more than 580,000 units in the US, at an attach rate of more than 65 percent.

Total software sales for December slid 27 percent to $1.58 billion, while software sales for the year suffered less, dipping 22 percent to $7.09 billion. Callahan said a major reason why retail sales for the year were down double-digits was due to a lack of new releases. According to NPD data, 2012 saw 29 percent fewer titles across consoles, portables, and PC. However, the games that were released generated 8 percent more units per title and 11 percent more dollars per title.

Another bright spot for December 2012 was Ubisoft's action-shooter Far Cry 3

"Far Cry 3 generated positive critical reviews and ranked sixth overall based on December unit sales. This praise, along with stepping outside the hectic November launch period, led to this game being the second-most successful December launch since NPD began tracking retail sales in 1995," Callahan said.

Switching to accessories, this unit saw revenue dive during December (-14 percent to $603 million) and for the year (-8 percent to $2.51 billion). Callahan said Activision's Skylanders series was a continued success during the year, with character and battle packs for Skylanders Giants driving more than double the unit sales compared to the original Skylanders last year.

Additionally, December 2012 was the best December on record for point and subscription card sales on a dollar and unit basis. And lastly, the headset and headphones category within the overall accessories unit grew compared to 2011, led by sales of Turtle Beach peripherals.

DECEMBER US GAME SALES (November 25-December 29)
OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Total retail sales: $3.21 (-22%)
Non-PC hardware: $1.07 billion (-20%)
Non-PC software: $1.54 billion (-26%)
Accessories: $603 million (-14%)
Total software: $1.58 billion (-27%)

ANNUAL 2012 US GAME SALES
OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Total retail sales: $13.26 billion (-22%)
Non-PC hardware: $4.04 billion (-27%)
Non-PC software: $6.71 billion (-23%)
Accessories: $2.51 billion (-8%)
Total Software: $7.09 billion (-22%)

TOP 10 GAMES FOR DECEMBER 2012
Title (Platforms) - Publisher
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (X360, PS3, Wii U, PC) - Activision Blizzard
2. Just Dance 4 (X360, Wii, Wii U, PS3) - Ubisoft
3. Halo 4 (X360) - Microsoft
4. Assassin's Creed III (X360, PS3, Wii U, PC) - Ubisoft
5. Madden NFL 13 (X360, PS3, Wii, PS Vita, Wii U) - Electronic Arts
6. Far Cry 3 (X360, PS3, PC) - Ubisoft
7. NBA 2K13 (X360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, PSP, PC) - Take-Two
8. Skylanders Giants (X360, Wii, PS3, 3DS, Wii U) - Activision
9. New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS) - Nintendo
10. FIFA Soccer 13 (X360, PS3, Wii, PS Vita, 3DS, Wii U, PSP) - Electronic Arts

TOP 10 GAMES FOR 2012
Title (Platforms) - Publisher
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (X360, PS3, Wii U, PC) - Activision Blizzard
2. Madden NFL 13 (X360, PS3, Wii, PS Vita, Wii U) - Electronic Arts
3. Halo 4 (X360) - Microsoft
4. Assassin's Creed III - (X360, PS3, PC, Wii U) - Ubisoft
5. Just Dance 4 (Wii, X360, Wii U, PS3) - Ubisoft
6. NBA 2K13 (X360, PS3, Wii, PSP, Wii U, PC) - Take-Two
7. Borderlands 2 (X360, PS3, PC) - Take-Two
8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (X360, PS3, Wii, PC) - Activision
9. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Wii, X360, DS, 3DS, PS3, PS Vita, PC) - Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
10. FIFA Soccer 13 (X360, PS3, Wii, PS Vita, 3DS, Wii U, PSP) - Electronic Arts

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Discussion

137 comments
famguy1234me
famguy1234me

i enjoyed the first black ops, but the 2nd one just did not do it for me, am i alone on this ?

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

I thought Blops 2 was a little tired, but somewhat less so compared to other recent entries in the series.

I know, my views may be a bit extreme, but there you go. 

jay0012k3
jay0012k3

I don't know whether to laugh or cry !!!

Bleak5170
Bleak5170

We needed a "research group" to tell us this?

AlexFili
AlexFili

Can't wait to get BO:II for Wii U

beuneus12
beuneus12

you disappoint me fellow american gamers

BuBsay
BuBsay

CoD, Madden, Halo as the top 3 sellers of the year...


God it's sad when all of the stereotypes about casual "bro" gamers are exactly true.

x_hunter00
x_hunter00

So many dumb Anti-CoD statements as well as other statements that I don't where to begin!

FolkIore
FolkIore

Call of duty has been the same  thing sense 2007.

MikeManiac61
MikeManiac61

Someone needs to inform to Gamestop and IGN that this is not a surprise for the past 3-4 years

RDavy22
RDavy22

COD: Doing the exact same Fu**ing thing over and over again expecting s**t to change...Welp!! turns out Vaas was right. Now that is the definition of INSANITY... 

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

2 full years of Xbox 360 leading in U.S.A that is very good for MS. And Call of Duty Black ops 2 being the 2012 most popular game is what people expected. I shall eventually try Cod Black ops 2 on the Wii U. Even though I have Xbox 360 and PS3.

ChunkyDrawers
ChunkyDrawers

I don't know what's sadder, the #1 or Just dance and Lego on the list...

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

Just Dance 4?  What?  Second most bought game in December?  Fifth most bought game in all of 2012??

Blech.

BelaidKL
BelaidKL

2 more news stories I found more interesting than the main article.. 1) Although money was made they saw a drop in -22% for retail during 2012 and if you scan that with the list of top selling games you'll find that there are no originals within that list, they're all sequels.. I think there's a connection.. 2) Madden outsold Halo 4.. That kinda stunned me

GamerOuTLaWz
GamerOuTLaWz

Call of duty black ops 2 - Activision Blizzard.   Never thought about the day Id ever see Blizzards name next to a fucking call 'o doodie title...wtf has the industry turned into?  

The whole top 10 list is terrible.

Cube_Girl
Cube_Girl

And let the anti-CoD remarks begin...again... /sigh

Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

I'd like to see a COD drop around the same time in the same year as a new Grand Theft Auto, let's see what those sales figures would look like!

botsio
botsio

v3rcis save ur whinning on something worthwhile!people choose bf3 over cod just based on visuals and nothing else!maybe u lack the eye to see something that is worth ur money!stop playing games then and do what u want!let cod be!

obsequies
obsequies

seeing just dance made me cringe 

V3rciS
V3rciS

COD, Just Dance, NBA2k, Madden, Fifa.... damn casuals destroying this industry with your crappy sequeles.

V3rciS
V3rciS

omg people still give money to activision for this BS... ffs
Kill COD alrdy plz

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

And people wonder why this industry isn't respected in same way as other creative media.

higherflyerJ
higherflyerJ

I think it's time to put the headstone for the gaming industry up in the entertainment graveyard alongside movies and music, which were already laid to rest a few years ago.  R.I.P. creativity.

JusXice
JusXice

Call of Money LOL either way Activision as a business is doing well and their goal is to make money and please the fans of each annual release of Call of Duty. It would be nice to see a AAA title dominate the Call of Duty sales this year because Modern warfare 3 was disappointing, but Call of Duty Black ops 2 was pretty good. 

SirNormanislost
SirNormanislost

Holy cow what the fudge is Fifa doing in an American top 10!!! I didn't think Americans liked real football that much

CTR360
CTR360

HALO 4 and 360 deserve this numbers

smackdowner360
smackdowner360

This is real numbers from a legit site.I love seeing these numbers and then seeing a bogus site claiming PS3 has passed the 360.It's even better how the PS3 was at 70 million in november but somehow manage to ship another 7 million in 7 weeks.All the systems combine didn't ship that many  lol.Still sold is PS3 72.4 and Xbox 74.2 million

Baroni88
Baroni88

@famguy1234me That's what I keep hearing. I personally don't play th CoD series anymore but my sister said she went back to MW3 after playing a bit if Black Ops 2.

Razorlight6
Razorlight6

@BelaidKL Halo 4 did amazingly well given it 's only on one console and was just released. Borderlands 2 is the real shocker, considering the company it's keeping, Congratulations, Gearbox!

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@GamerOuTLaWz Vivendi "merged" with Activision. However, as the merger left Vivendi (owner of Blizz) with a 52% stake, Vivendi basically bought Activision and reorganized it and blizzard under one holdings company called "Activision Blizzard". Blizzard has nothing directly to do with Activision or their titles, the two just have the same parent company.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

@GamerOuTLaWz You... remember there was a merger/buyout, right?  You realize the house of Starcraft didn't have anything to do with that title, right?

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@Cube_Girl People apparently have a hard time resting in a grey area, and need either to support it to the death, or sling mud until their fingers are worn to the bone. (mostly the latter in this case).

BelaidKL
BelaidKL

@Viral-venom13 I think for that month GTA would take it.. But sadly it'll still be the same outcome at the end of the year and CoD will eventually prevail

IamTheBesteva
IamTheBesteva

@botsio I know this comment is not directed at me (but just read my name, i can reply to anyone i want).."people choose bf3 over cod just based on visuals and nothing else" actually that is false COD is more of a run and gun game whereas BF is more strategic with emphasis on patience..i know this because i play both.

V3rciS
V3rciS

@botsio did I said that BF3 was much better? Also how about FU, you can see how many people tend to have the same opinion with me and how many do praise COD? So QQ... some more and COD sucks no matter how hard you try to defend it.. it's for 12 years old kids get over it.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@obsequies For fans of the franchise, it made them just dance.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@kavadias1981 Transformers 3 is the 5th most successful movie of all time, which goes to show that other industries are also afflicted by the same disease that the gaming industry has.

GamerOuTLaWz
GamerOuTLaWz

@GamerMani on console??? Im desperate to see BF3 isnt that more popular on PC (cheaters aside) since its the most gorgeous and awesome game to play when you have a bomb PC but damn Id never play it on console..matter of fact I never play shit on console except for PS3 exclusives,only games that are worth it.

M3o5nster
M3o5nster

@smackdowner360 All the info you like must be true and legit, but anything you don't like must be bogus... Great logic.

I don't normally say this but, U mad bro?

SirNormanislost
SirNormanislost

@smackdowner360

Well this same site said yesterday that the PS3 has out "shipped" the 360 but the 360 has still sold more units

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@BestJinjo @FolkIore I concur, but I predict that they'll switch fish and we'll see something more like "Salmon of Duty" or "Tilapia of Duty".  COD is tired out.

smackdowner360
smackdowner360

@SirNormanislost Do you know how stupid that sound's?That doesn't make any sense at all.Again people wait for the real numbers at the end of the month.We have seen the NPD numbers.Xbox outsold the PS3 2 to1.Also  had 7 out of 10 of the best selling games for the month of december.