Recession may be on the tip of everyone's tongues, but consumers' appetite for the interactive medium continues largely unabated. Industry stat-tracking firm The NPD Group today released its assessment for US gaming retail sales in November. Industry sales were up 10 percent year-over-year. Domestic sales of hardware, software, and accessories reached $2.91 billion for the month, pushing 2008's total just over the $16 billion threshold.
November 2008's 10 percent sales growth is especially impressive, considering that last month's tally contained seven fewer post-Thanksgiving shopping days compared to a year ago. One huge reason for the surge was the Wii. With an analyst-noted surge in supply, Nintendo's console more than doubled its 2007 numbers, selling more than 2.04 million units. The Nintendo DS also proved staggeringly popular, shifting 1.57 million units on the month.
While lodged firmly in third place in hardware sales for November, Microsoft made huge gains over rival Sony last month. Xbox 360 sales more than doubled those of the PlayStation 3, with Microsoft's console outselling Sony's system 836,000 units to 378,000. Sony's depth bolstered the company's performance, however, with PSP sales hitting 421,000 units and the aging PlayStation 2 managing 206,000 systems.
On the software side, Microsoft and Epic Games' sci-fi third-person shooter Gears of War 2 took the gold, reaching sales of 1.56 million units in November. That figure represents just over half of the title's global haul, which Microsoft pegged at 3 million earlier this week. Activision's Call of Duty: World at War, which also debuted last month, fell just shy of Gears 2's tally on a platform-by-platform basis, with the Xbox 360 edition seeing sales of 1.41 million units and the PS3 game selling an additional 597,000 copies.
Nintendo's Wii Fit, Wii Play, and Mario Kart Wii had another commendable month at retail, snagging the third, fourth, and fifth slots in November's chart with a respective 796,000, 697,000, and 637,000 units. While the rhythm genre was decidedly underrepresented in October, Activision's Guitar Hero World Tour for the Wii and Wii Music both surged in November, logging respective sales of 475,000 units and 297,000 copies.
Other strong performers for the month include the Xbox 360 edition of Valve's Left 4 Dead (410,000 units) and Insomniac Games' flagship PS3-exclusive shooter Resistance 2 (385,000 units).
Though the NPD Group does not include PC titles in its monthly report, Frazier also noted that World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King enjoyed stellar sales for the month. "We would be remiss not to point out the strength of PC game sales this month as lead by the release of the latest World of Warcraft expansion pack," said Frazier. "Wrath of the Lich King sold over 1.4 million units in the US during its debut month at retail." Worldwide, the game sold more than 2.8 million copies in just 24 hours.
[UPDATE] On Friday, NPD expanded its list of the top console and handheld software sold in November to include the 20 best-selling games. Of note, October's top title--the Xbox 360-exclusive Fable II--saw a substantial drop in sales, falling to 19 on the chart. Another big drop came by way of Bethesda's Fallout 3 for the Xbox 360, which fell nine spots to 12.
US VIDEO GAMES INDUSTRY - NOVEMBER 2008
Software: $1.45B (+11%)
Hardware: $1.21B (+10%)
Accessories: $255M (+7%)
Total Games: $2.91B (10%)
TOP-SELLING HARDWARE - NOVEMBER 2008
Nintendo DS--1.57 million
TOP-SELLING SOFTWARE - NOVEMBER 2008
Title / Publisher / Units*
1) Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360) / Microsoft / 1,560,000
2) Call of Duty: World at War (Xbox 360) / Activision Blizzard / 1,410,000
3) Wii Play w/ Remote (WII) / Nintendo / 796,000
4) Wii Fit w/ Balance Board (WII) / Nintendo / 697,000
5) Mario Kart Wii w/ Wheel (WII) / Nintendo / 637,000
6) Call of Duty: World at War (PS3) / Activision Blizzard / 597,000
7) Guitar Hero World Tour (Wii) / Activision Blizzard / 475,000
8) Left 4 Dead (Xbox 360) / Electronic Arts / 410,000
9) Resistance 2 (PS3) / Sony / 385,000
10) Wii Music / Nintendo / 297,000
11) Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii) / Nintendo
12) Fallout 3 (Xbox 360) / Bethesda Softworks
13) Rock Band (Wii) / MTV Games
14) Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia (DS) / Nintendo
15) Guitar Hero World Tour (Xbox 360) / Activision Blizzard
16) Mario Kart (DS) / Nintendo
17) Guitar Hero World Tour (PS2) / Activision Blizzard
18) WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2009 (PS2) / THQ
19) Fable II (Xbox 360) / Microsoft
20) Madden NFL 09 (Xbox 360) / Electronic Arts
* Figures include Collector's Editions and non-hardware bundles.