Madden hoists 2006 sales trophy

EA's PS2 football simulation dominates sales in 2006 with 2.8 million sold, Mario comes in second; Gears of War takes December crown, third overall in 2006.

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Another year, another dominant performance by Madden NFL.
Another year, another dominant performance by Madden NFL.

The final game sales numbers for 2006 have been released by industry-trackers NPD Group, and a familiar face has risen to the top. Electronic Arts' most valuable player, the PlayStation 2 version of the Madden NFL franchise, was declared the top-selling game of the year in the US.

Madden NFL 07 for Sony's current-generation system, which debuted in August, sold 2.8 million copies (the figure includes the game's deluxe Hall of Fame edition). Last year's version of the series, Madden NFL 06, beat that number slightly, tallying 2.9 million units sold.

From overgrown linemen to stubby plumbers, second place for US game sales in 2006 went to Nintendo's mustachioed mascot. New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS mustered 2 million units sold. The DS, which has sold 9.2 million units in the US to date, was also represented on the charts by Mario's chart mate, Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day. The brainteaser sold 1.1 million units in 2006.

New Super Mario Bros. sold well all year.
New Super Mario Bros. sold well all year.

Just over one year old, the Xbox 360 had three of its games in the top 10. Madden NFL 07 took eighth with 1.1 million sold, and Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter was just behind it in ninth, with 1 million rung up. But the most impressive Xbox 360 game was Epic Games' Gears of War, which sold 1.8 million copies despite only being released in November.

Even with all the hoopla surrounding the next-gen wars, Sony's iron horse, the PS2, was still the story for software. The system held five of the top 10 spots in 2006, thanks to Kingdom Hearts II, Guitar Hero 2, Final Fantasy XII, and NCAA Football 07.

The list of top 10 selling games for 2006 (with figures) is listed below.

Gears of War pwned December.
Gears of War pwned December.

Sales figures for the last month of 2006 were also released today, and Gears of War came out on top...barely. The Xbox 360 shooter sold 815,700 units, just edging out the PS2 version of Guitar Hero 2, which racked up 805,200 sales. While both of those games were holiday releases, third place went to Madden NFL 07 for the PS2 (737,100 units sold in December), despite being a summer release.

While much attention was focused on Wii owners scooping up that system's version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess in droves, it was actually outperformed in December by its GameCube counterpart. Twilight Princess for the GameCube landed in fourth (532,900 sold), just ahead of the Wii version, which took fifth (519,200 sold).

The list of top 10 selling games for December 2006 (with figures) is listed below.

Across all platforms, Madden once again took the December crown, scrambling ahead to 1.9 million games sold. Behind it were Call of Duty 3 (1.1 million), Cars (874,000), Need for Speed Carbon (871,600), the Xbox 360-exclusive Gears of War, and the PS2-exclusive Guitar Hero 2.

As far as sales of accessories in December go, the top slot went to the Xbox 360 wireless controller, with 823,800 units sold. Nintendo had a one-two punch in second and third, with the Wii Remote (646,700) and Wii Nunchuk (497,100), respectively.

Top-selling games for 2006

PS2--Madden NFL 07, Electronic Arts--2.8 M
NDS--New Super Mario Bros., Nintendo--2.0 M
360--Gears of War, Microsoft--1.8 M
PS2--Kingdom Hearts II, Square Enix--1.7 M
PS2--Guitar Hero II, Activision--1.3 M
PS2--Final Fantasy XII, Square Enix--1.3 M
NDS--Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day, Nintendo--1.1 M
360--Madden NFL 07, Electronic Arts--1.1 M
360--Tom Clancy's GRAW, Ubisoft--1.0 M
PS2--NCAA Football 07, Electronic Arts--1.0 M

Top-selling games for December 2006

360--Gears of War, Microsoft--815.7 K
PS2--Guitar Hero II, Activision--805.2 K
PS2--Madden NFL 07, Electronic Arts--737.1 K
GC--Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Nintendo--532.9 K
Wii--Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Nintendo--519.2 K
PS2--WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007, THQ--484.5 K
NDS--New Super Mario Bros., Nintendo--427.5 K
360--Call of Duty 3, Activision--410.8 K
NDS--Yoshi's Island 2, Nintendo--407.2 K
PS2--Call of Duty 3, Activision--365.3 K

[UPDATE 2] This morning, NPD sent out a revised list of top-selling games in December 2006 across all platforms. The group corrected a mistake that neglected to include The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess in the list. The figures from NPD listed total sales of the game for the month to be 1.5 million, a number that does not equal the sum of previous figures reported by NPD (see list above--total of previously reported numbers would equal just over 1 million units sold).

[UPDATE 3] The NPD has revised its list of the top-selling games of 2006 across all platforms once again. This morning's update, which had Twilight Princess in second place with 1.5 million copies sold, used the full year sales for the game. When only the game's December tally is used, it drops to third place on the list, slightly behind Call of Duty 3.

Top-selling games for December 2006 across all platforms

Madden NFL 07, Electronic Arts--1.9 M
Call of Duty 3, Activision--1.1 M
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Nintendo--1.1 M
Cars, THQ--874.0 K
Need for Speed Carbon, Electronic Arts--871.6 K
Gears of War, Microsoft--815.7 K
Guitar Hero 2, Activision--805.2 K
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, LucasArts--792.3 K
WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007, THQ--731.6 K
Tony Hawk's Project 8, Activision--713.9 K
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Activision--642.9 K

Top-selling accessories in December 2006

360 Wireless Controller--823.8 K
Wii Remote Controller--646.7 K
Wii Nunchuk Controller--497.1 K
PS2 8MB Memory Card--474.8 K
PS3 Sixaxis Wireless Controller--336.0 K

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