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NPD: Black Ops II January's best-selling title in US

Research group reports latest Call of Duty top title during five-week reporting period; total sales for month fall 13 percent on adjusted basis.


The NPD Group today reported United States industry sales for January 2013, revealing Call of Duty: Black Ops II has remained the best-selling title in the region since launch in January. Rounding out the top five titles for the month were sequels Far Cry 3, Just Dance 4, NBA 2K13, and Madden NFL 13.

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The January 2013 reporting period was actually five weeks instead of four due to the NPD Group's adherence to the National Retail Federation calendar. This extra week is a consequence of the NPD Group's 4-5-4 retail calendar and occurs only once every five or six years. As a result of including the "Leap Week," sales are inflated to a degree. Adjusted sales are in the chart below.

Total sales for January jumped 9 percent on a five-week basis to $834.7 million, though when "corrected," sales actually dropped 13 percent to $667.6 million. According to NPD analyst Liam Callahan, this figure only truly represents 50 percent of total spend when other revenue streams are factored in.

"These sales figures represent new physical retail sales of hardware, software and accessories, which account for roughly 50 percent of the total consumer spend on games," he said. "When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in January such as used and rentals at $141 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 $382 million, we would estimate the total consumer spend in January to be over $1.3 billion."

Hardware sales fell 17 percent on an adjusted basis to $164 million during the period and were led by Microsoft's Xbox 360, which sold 281,000 units and drove $338 million during the month. Sony and Nintendo have not announced hardware sales for the month.

As for software, this category dove 19 percent on an adjusted basis for January. Far Cry 3's second place performance during the month marked the first time since January 2002 (Final Fantasy X) that a December launch ranked second in the following January, Callahan said.

In addition, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch missed the top 10 chart by just one spot, and actually ranked seventh on an individual SKU basis.

"While the number of new SKUs was relatively consistent for January 2013 compared to January 2012, performance of new SKUs this year versus last was six times as high, lifted by the success of titles like DmC: Devil May Cry and Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch," Callahan said.

Accessories sales for January 2013 rose 4 percent on a normalized basis to $205 million and saw point and subscription card revenue rise.

"January 2013 marked the best January for Point and Subscription Cards on record, another indication of the health of spending on digital content and services and how retailers can participate," Callahan said.

ADJUSTED JANUARY US GAME SALES (December 30, 2012-February 2, 2013)

Total retail sales: $667.76 million (-13%)
Non-PC hardware: $164 million (-17%)
Accessories: $205.28 million (4%)
Total software: $314.32 million (-19%)


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

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