US retail sales fall 8% in 2011 - NPD

Physical software, hardware, accessories come in at $17.02 billion; total software including digital sales falls 2 percent.

It came as no surprise last week when stat-tracking organizations in the UK and Japan reported respective 7 and 8 percent retail sales declines in those regions during 2011. US retail sales have matched those two regions, as the NPD Group today said in its year-end report that US game industry retail sales fell 8 percent in 2011 to $17.02 billion.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 outpaced its closest competitor by some 2.7 million units this year in the US.

Hardware posted the biggest losses as a percentage in 2011, with sales of gaming-specific console and portable systems amounting to $5.58 billion, down 11 percent year-over-year. NPD placed the Xbox 360 as the best-selling console during the year, with Microsoft touting that its device outpaced the second-place console by some 2.7 million units.

Exact figures were not disclosed. However, NPD analyst Anita Frazier noted that Wii and PlayStation 3 sales "were neck and neck in second place for Annual 2011." She also noted that the Xbox 360 and PS3 were the only systems to experience year-over-year sales increases.

Consumer spending on game software was also down year-over-year, though its exact declines differ depending on what's being measured. Total new software sales at retail--including console, portable, and PC games--amounted to $9.27 billion in 2011, an 8 percent decline over the year prior.

However, that figure slightly improves when factoring in all monetization methods, such as online subscriptions, used games, rentals, and downloadable content. NPD estimates that total consumer spend in this regard amounted to $16.3 billion and $16.6 billion in 2011. That figure is down just 2 percent when compared to the same period in 2010. NPD expects to release its finalized estimate for total consumer spend on software in March.

"Our preliminary estimate for the other monetization methods in which consumers can acquire games content is $7.24 billion for 2011, an increase of 7 percent versus 2010," commented Frazier. "This includes the consumer spend on used games, digital full game and add-on content downloads, mobile games, social network games, subscriptions, and rentals. The increase in these areas partially offset the decline in new physical retail sales of content in 2011."

As was the case with Black Ops in 2010 and Modern Warfare 2 in 2009, Activision's Call of Duty franchise posted the best software sales figures for the year. However, Modern Warfare 3 wasn't the only Call of Duty chart-topper, as last year's Black Ops was the sixth-best-selling game in 2011.

Ubisoft's Just Dance franchise also double-dipped on NPD's chart with Just Dance 3 finishing second and Just Dance 2 charting in ninth. Other top performers included The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (3rd) and Battlefield 3 (4th).

ANNAUL 2011 US GAME SALES
OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Total retail sales: $17.02 billion (-8%)
Non-PC hardware: $5.58 billion (-11%)
Non-PC retail software: $8.83 billion (-6%)
Accessories: $2.61 billion (-11%)
Total retail software: $9.27 billion (-8%)
Total all software: $16.3 billion to $16.6 billion (-2%)

TOP 10 RETAIL GAMES FOR 2011
Title (Platforms) - Publisher
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (X360, PS3, PC) - Activision
2. Just Dance 3 (Wii, X360) - Ubisoft
3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (X360, PS3, PC) - Bethesda Softworks
4. Battlefield 3 (X360, PS3, PC) - EA
5. Madden NFL 12 (X360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2) - EA
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops (X360, PS3, Wii, DS, PC) - Activision Blizzard
7. Batman: Arkham City (X360, PS3, PC) - Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
8. Gears of War 3 (X360) - Microsoft
9. Just Dance 2 (Wii) - Ubisoft
10. Assassin's Creed: Revelations (X360, PS3, PC) - Ubisoft

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Discussion

19 comments
RitsukoEX
RitsukoEX

@ABEzilla116 its not people who get pissed. its the fanboys who get pissed!

tahashaikh15
tahashaikh15

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

steelmouth
steelmouth

bravo to ma all time favorate franchise Gears for making the 2011 top 10,wasnt ther some report that Uncharted outsold Gears in its first week som lik it sold 3million+ so where is uncharted now

steelmouth
steelmouth

whats that? the 360 outpaced the second-place console by some 2.7 million units and still some fanboys belief the ps3 is clossing the gap between the two smdfh

kkxtrouble
kkxtrouble

We are yet to see what will happen once Wii U is released - will people buy it like water or will they wait for the other consoles?

SolidTy
SolidTy

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Ford_Cruller
Ford_Cruller

Not a bad year overall. I think the revenue dropped off this year because people stopped buying the Wii in such large numbers. Expect record breaking years again once we're a year or two into the next console cycle.

Grovilis
Grovilis

Just Dance on the Wii senses your right hand shake about and automatically assumes that you're break dancing. Yes, obviously the game is flawless and lives up to the hype. -_-

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

Now the question is, did the 7% increase in product gouging like DLC, add-ons, fees (article called it "other monetization") - make up for the total loss in software sales? Really there is only so much content they can withhold and hold back before people see it as a scam and move on. That's how I feel as a consumer of the industry.

Landsharkk
Landsharkk

@constantterror You are in denial. There are no PS3 exclusive games in the top 10 chart above. Also, Xbox360 has been outselling PS3 by a LOT especially the last 2 years. If I wasn't two steps away from falling asleep (and my Wife wasn't already upset I'm not in bed yet) I'd look up the exact sales numbers myself, but it may be a greater benefit if you take a moment and do the research yourself. 9 of the top 10 games sold in 2011 are available on the Xbox360, while only 7 are available on the PS3. Although it appears to be only a two number difference, that's a huge margin, just ask their respective sales teams. No doubt the PS3 is a great console, however it's not the top console and I highly doubt it will be 'dominating' any competitors this year or any year before the next gen consoles are released.

Evo8u
Evo8u

@constantterror cel shaded looking cars? You know nothing about what u say. U r a fanboy and probably get on ur knees for Sony if u could.

constantterror
constantterror

At the end of the tunnel you see ps3 dominating like it should have been doing all along but that one year head start really did hurt them but sony's good enough to bounce back on top.

constantterror
constantterror

Heck that dude that said ps3 will be top dog is not lien sony will be there this year if the market keeps like this which I still don't get why it hasn't already happened cause its so clearly the best system to get right now tons of good exclusives that you can't get on 360 heck 360 only has 4 good exclusives halo,gears,alan wake,and forza if you can stand the cel shaded look of their cars. ps3 has so many good games I don't even know where to start but heres a few gow,uncharted,LBP,twisted metal,infamous,resistance,and killzone,and a ton more just a great time to be playing on ps3 either way you put it.

Cwagmire21
Cwagmire21

Haven't bought much retail, but with all these DD sites and especially last Steam sale, Valve basically took my wallet. I'd like to see those numbers. I bet analysts wouldn't claim that the industry is plummeting then.

AntiH3ro97
AntiH3ro97

Just Dance 3, Madden 12, and two different Call of Duty's are on the top selling list of games throughout all of 2011. That's just... stupid. I can tolerate one COD, but with sports games don't people understand they're getting the same thing every year with very minor graphical updates and useless features? And hasn't Just Dance had 3 games in less than two years? Assassins Creed, while also being an annual release, I do feel has a higher standard of quality (though the additions might not necessarily be more groundbreaking than Madden or the other games)

Kilikan5670
Kilikan5670

Don't sales usually increase during the holidays?Guess I've been thinking wrong.

Neosword
Neosword

Shame. Here's to hoping for a rebound in 2012! There will be some great games out to hopefully make that happen.

DamageIncM
DamageIncM

LOOL Look at Just Dance dancing at the top there! All that hype over those shooters and arrows to knees and a game like "Just Dance" is right up there with them. XD