NPD: November cooks up $2.63 billion in game sales

Massive holiday haul pushes YTD earnings over $13.1 billion, Wii narrowly misses 1-million-sales mark; Call of Duty 4 victorious with 2-million-unit total.

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Earlier this week, analysts weighed in with their predictions of the US game-industry sales for the month of November. Today, the industry-standard research firm NPD Group weighed in with the real deal, reporting a staggering $2.63 billion in non-PC game hardware, software, and accessory revenue for the month. The figure pushed the game industry's year-to-date total to $13.12 billion and puts it on track for a record annual total of $18 billion to $19 billion, according to NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

"If the year had ended on December 1, 2007 would be up 5 percent versus last year," said Frazier. "Thanksgiving fell earlier in the reporting month this year than it did last, which certainly helped fuel part of the incredible 52 percent increase over last year."

Though Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all tried to spin their "Black Friday" sales last month, the latest dispatch from the console-war front leaves no doubt as to the victor. More than 981,000 Wiis were sold during NPD's November reporting period, besting the Xbox 360's 770,000-unit total and more than doubling the PlayStation 3's 466,000-unit tally. Sony's most venerable platform, the PlayStation 2, continued to outpace its younger brother with 496,000 units in sales.

Nintendo's dominance of the handheld space was even more staggering, with the DS's 1.53-million-unit haul almost tripling the 567,000 PlayStation Portables sold during the period.

In the software race, competition for the top slot was far tighter. The month's top SKU was the Xbox 360 edition of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, with 1.57 million copies sold. Combined with the seventh-place PS3 version's 444,000-unit total, Activision's shooter went double platinum in one month on consoles alone. (NPD did not provide PC sales figures for the game.)

In the number-two slot was the similarly acclaimed Wii exclusive Super Mario Galaxy, which sold 1.12 million units. In third (360 - 980,000 units) and 10th (PS3 - 377,000 units) was another critical darling, Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed. With a combined total of nearly 1.36 million, Ubisoft's acrobatic adventure is now the fastest-selling new IP in history, a distinction formerly held by Gears of War. Another all-new IP, BioWare's 360-exclusive role-playing game Mass Effect, also cracked the top 10, selling 473,000 copies to land in sixth place.

In fourth (PS2 - 967,000 units) and eighth (Wii - 426,000 units) place was October's number-one game, Guitar Hero III:Legends of Rock from Activision. The rest of the top 10 were also holdovers from previous months: Ninth-place finisher Halo 3 (360 - 387,000 units) was released in September, while fifth-place winner Wii Play (564,000 units), which comes packed with a Wii Remote, was first released in February.

NPD also commented on the debut of one game that didn't crack the top 10. "Rock Band sold 382K units across the 360 and PS3 platforms," said Frazier. "While some may view this as disappointing, keep in mind that initial shipments were limited, and this is the kind of title that can easily build momentum in December and beyond as word of mouth spreads."

US GAME HARDWARE SALES, NOVEMBER 2007
Nintendo DS - 1.53 million
Nintendo Wii - 981,000
Xbox 360 - 770,000
PlayStation Portable - 567,000
PlayStation 2 - 496,000
PlayStation 3 - 466,000

TOP 10 GAME SOFTWARE TITLES, NOVEMBER 2007
1) Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (360) - Activision (Corp) - Nov 2007 - 1.57 million
2) Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) - Nintendo - Nov 2007 - 1.12 million
3) Assassin's Creed (360) - Ubisoft - Nov 2007 - 980,000
4) Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (PS2) - Activision - Oct 2007 - 967,000
5) Wii Play (with remote) (Wii) - Nintendo - Feb 2007 - 564,000
6) Mass Effect (360) - Microsoft - Nov 2007 - 473,000
7) Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3) - Activision - Nov 2007 - 444,000
8) Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Wii) - Activision - Oct 2007 - 426,000
9) Halo 3 (360) - Microsoft - Sep 2007 - 387,000
10) Assassin's Creed (PS3) - Ubisoft - Nov 2007 - 377,000

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