NPD: Lich King dominates November PC charts

Second expansion to Blizzard's 11-million-strong MMOG tops US desktop sales, followed by Call of Duty, Spore, Fallout 3.

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The big story to come out of the NPD Group's November recap of game industry retail sales in the US was record-setting sales of Nintendo's Wii and DS, which sold a combined 3.6 million units last month. However, yesterday also revealed heightened demand for console and handheld software. Thanks to a strong debut from Microsoft's Gears of War 2 and Activision's Call of Duty: World at War, sales in the category were up a combined 11 percent year over year.

As the NPD Group segments off its desktop software sales from its console and handheld report, that figure doesn't even factor in one of the biggest releases of the year, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. This week, NPD also revealed sales rankings for PC games in November, and unsurprisingly, Lich King and its collector's edition companion secured the first and second slot.

As noted by NPD analyst Anita Frazier yesterday, Wrath of the Lich King sold in excess of 1.4 million units during its debut month. That tally represents just one half of the game's first-day worldwide sales, which Activision Blizzard pegged at 2.8 million shortly after the WOW expansion's debut. At the end of October, Blizzard Entertainment announced that its massively popular massively multiplayer online game had breached the 11-million-subscriber mark.

World of Warcraft subscribers hail from a number of countries and regions, including North America, Europe, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Chile, Argentina, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Most recently, WOW was launched in Russia and Latin America.

Of course, there aren't enough SKUs of World of Warcraft to dominate the entire top 10, though the WOW: Battle Chest--which contains both the original game and its first expansion, Burning Crusade--also occupied the sixth slot. Augmenting the strong performance by its console brethren, Call of Duty: World at War also performed well on the PC, securing the third slot in the charts.

Despite being the most-pirated game of 2008, Will Wright and EA Maxis' sim-everything Spore still managed to shift a substantial number of legal units, chalking up a fourth-place finish in November. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe and The Sims 2 Apartment Life Expansion Pack charted a respective seventh and ninth.

Though its Xbox 360 and PS3 counterparts fell out of the console charts in November, Fallout 3 for the PC remained a top-10 performer. Shortly after its debut in October, publisher Bethesda Softworks claimed that the game had shipped a combined 4.7 million units during its first week at retail.

The PC is often considered the true home for games produced by Valve, and the Turtle Rock Studios-developed Left 4 Dead enjoyed a measure of success on the platform in the US last month. EALA's Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 rounded out November's top-10 chart.

TOP-SELLING PC SOFTWARE - NOVEMBER 2008
Title / Publisher / ASP
1) WOW: Wrath of the Lich King / Activision Blizzard / $36
2) WOW: Wrath of the Lich King Collectors Ed / Activision Blizzard / $70
3) Call Of Duty: World At War / Activision Blizzard / $50
4) Spore / Electronic Arts / $48
5) Fallout 3 / Bethesda Softworks / $49
6) WOW: Battle Chest / Activision Blizzard / $34
7) The Sims 2 Double Deluxe / Electronic Arts / $19
8) Left 4 Dead / Electronic Arts / $48
9) The Sims 2 Apartment Life / Electronic Arts / $21
10) Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 / Electronic Arts / $49
11) World of Warcraft / Activision Blizzard / $18
12) The Sims 2 Mansion & Garden Stuff / Electronic Arts / $19
13) Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy / Her Interactive / $20
14) EverQuest II: The Shadow Odyssey / SOE / $40
15) Far Cry 2 / Ubisoft / $50
16) World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade / Activision Blizzard / $29
17) BioShock / Take-Two / $14
18) Spore Creepy & Cute Parts Pack / Electronic Arts / $19
19) IGT Slots: Little Green Men / $20
20) Assassin's Creed: Director's Cut Edition / Ubisoft / $17

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