Top-10 Best Selling Games in the US During November 2016

Here's how the game industry did in the United States last month.

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November is traditionally one of the biggest months of the year for video game sales. While that was certainly true again this year--total sales in the US were $1.97 billion, compared with $875.7 million in October--sales were down significantly compared with last year.

That $1.97 billion is a 24 percent drop from November 2015, when total sales were $2.6 billion. The bulk of that comes from the 35 percent decline in hardware sales ($723.8 million, down from $1.12 billion). Portable hardware grew--3DS sales were up 59 percent year-over-year--but that was offset by PS4 and Xbox One declines. No specific sales figures were shared except for the NES Classic Edition, which sold 196,000 units.

Total spending on accessories was down only 6 percent to $259.8 million from $277.1 million. Interactive gaming toys (covering things like Lego Dimensions, Skylanders, and Amiibo figures) were down 49 percent. The overall category was likely boosted by the inclusion of PlayStation VR headsets sold at retail. The DualShock 4 was the month's top-selling controller, while Xbox One Elite controller sales were up 46 percent year-over-year.

Software sales were down as well, declining 18 percent to $955.2 million from $1.17 billion.

"The year-on-year software revenue decline was driven by the strong comp to last November’s top 3 titles: Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Fallout 4, and Star Wars Battlefront, which were all full-priced console new releases," said NPD analyst Sam Naji. "This month's top 3 games were Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1, and Pokemon: Sun. Battlefield 1 launched in October, and Pokemon Sun launched at a lower MSRP than last November's console games. As all titles outside of the top 3 grew a combined 12 percent vs. year ago, it is the top 3 title grouping that drove the year-on-year decline."

CNBC recently reported that the NPD Group had found that Infinite Warfare sales were roughly half those of last year's Black Ops III, which might explain the drop.

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Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, despite its aforementioned struggles, still reached the top spot on the NPD's sales charts. Dishonored 2 is the biggest November release to not make the top 10; Final Fantasy XV, which also didn't chart, was released on November 29, after the NPD's report period ended on November 26.

The full top 10 software list follows at the bottom of this story. As has been the case in recent months, the NPD's top software charts include digital sales for some, but not all games. Games are also now ranked in terms of dollar sales, rather than unit sales as in the past.

"Software spending in November 2016 declined by 19 percent compared to this time last year," Naji explained. "The decline can be fully attributed to the top 3 selling games which, combined, sold 43 percent less than the top 3 games from last November. Combined spending across all other titles grew 12 percent in November compared with a year ago."

Naji also noted that 3DS had its "highest monthly physical software spending in the history of the platform," topping December 2014 by 1 percent. Pokemon Sun and Moon combined for the franchise's biggest launch ever (which Nintendo had already claimed). They combined to sell 8 percent more than the previous record holders, White and Black. Naji pointed out this is despite Sun and Moon having 19 fewer days on the market.

In a statement shared with GameSpot, Nintendo added that Pokemon Sun and Moon claimed the top two spots on the NPD's best-seller list for the month (as opposed to the top-grossing list seen below). It also said the games helped increase 3DS software sales 350 percent year-over-year, and that software sales for the year are up nearly 60 percent.

Last week, we learned that the PS4 was November's top-selling console in the US. This broke a four-month streak where the Xbox One had come out on top, a trend which itself had broken a long run of the PS4 leading the way.

Sony declined to comment on the NPD report beyond confirming the top spot. Microsoft focused on "strong momentum" since the announcement of the Xbox One S and strong Xbox Live numbers.

November 2016 Top 10 Games in the US (Oct. 30-Nov. 26)

  1. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  2. Battlefield 1
  3. Pokemon Sun*
  4. Pokemon Moon*
  5. Titanfall 2
  6. NBA 2K17
  7. Madden NFL 17
  8. Watch Dogs 2
  9. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim*
  10. FIFA 17

* denotes a game that does not include digital sales

Story has been updated with details from Nintendo's statement

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