NPD December 2010 – Xbox 360 sees YoY increase with 1.86 million units, Black Ops is software winner

Friday, 14th January 2011 07:31 GMT By Johnny Cullen


NPD figures for the month of December 2010, released last night, showed that Xbox 360 enjoyed year-on-year increase for the month – the only console to do so – with 1.9 million sales in the US.

Call of Duty: Black Ops topped the December charts, and was also named the biggest-selling American game of 2010.


Hardware – 360 sees biggest month ever, only console to perform YoY increase

While NPD now leaves it to platform holders to release hardware numbers at their own discretion, it was revealed that Xbox 360 hardware numbers were at 1.86 million units for last month: 360 was the only console to see a year-over-year increase, rising 42 percent over December 2009. It was the biggest American month ever for the Microsoft console.

Despite that, however, Nintendo DS was the biggest selling console for the month with sales of 2.5 million units, according to Nintendo. The handheld saw a 24 percent decrease compared to last year. With these numbers, and having sold 8.5 million units throughout the year, the total LtD numbers for DS is at now at 47 million.

That milestone means DS has now passed PlayStation 2′s LtD sales numbers in the US.

According to the LA Times, PS3 sold 1.21 million units in December, which was down 11 percent on 2009. Wii sold 2.26 million units, suffering a 38 percent decrease.

Among all categories in December, including hardware, software and accessories, Wii and Xbox 360 garnered the greatest dollar sales with 32 percent and 31 percent respectively.

Full list is below.

  • Nintendo DS – 2.5 million
  • Nintendo Wii – 2.36 million
  • Xbox 360 – 1.86 million
  • PlayStation 3 – 1.21 million

Software – Black Ops wins December and 2010


Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops was the main software winner for December as well as 2010 as a whole.

Just Dance 2 came second, beating World of Warcraft: Cataclysm which sold 1.5 million units for the month. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Donkey Kong: Country Returns rounded out the top five.

After getting off to a very slow start last month, Disney’s Epic Mickey picked up in sales from November, selling 1.32 million units, according to GAF.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit finished the top ten with sales of 906,000 for the month. Gran Turismo 5 dropped out of the top ten, having debuted at eight in November, but IG reports it sold 560,000.

Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg tweeted that Kinect Sports and Dance Central, since their debut in November, have now gone on to sell 1 million units. This is presumably LtD numbers.

The full top ten for software in December 2010 is below.

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Treyarch, Activision)
  2. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft, Ubisoft)
  3. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (Blizzard, Blizzard)
  4. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft)
  5. Donkey Kong: Country Returns (Retro Studios, Nintendo)
  6. Disney’s Epic Mickey (Junction Point, Disney)
  7. Madden NFL 11 (EA Tiburon, EA Sports)
  8. Michael Jackson: The Experience (Ubisoft, Ubisoft)
  9. NBA 2K11 (2K Sports, 2K Games)
  10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (Criterion Games, EA Games)

A round-up of the best-selling games in 2010 in the US is here.

Other – Industry down 5 percent for entire year, 9 percent for December


Despite December 2010 being called “one of the strongest monthly performances the industry has ever had at retail” by ESA president Michael Gallagher, results for the industry were down by nine percent for December and 5 percent for 2010.

Total spending in 2010 on gaming was in the region of $15.4-$15.6 billion, according to NPD, showing sales were down by 1 percent on 2009.

Retail sales in the US of portable, console and PC software was down by five percent on last year, gaining $10.1 billion in 2010 to the $10.6 billion generated in 2009.

Sales of physical hardware, software and accessories in 2010 generated $18.6 billion for 2010, a six percent decrease from last year, although with PC games included, sales were at $19.3 billion.

PC game sales were up three percent against 2009, with accessory sales up 13 percent “due to an increase in the average retail price of accessory items of 20 percent,” according to NPD.

“The dynamics of games content purchasing changed dramatically in 2010 with options ranging from the physical product to digital downloads on connected devices as well as in-store digital kiosks,” said Anita Frazier of NPD.

“The increasing number of ways to acquire the content has allowed the industry to maintain total consumer spend on content as compared to 2009, and we should expect 2011 to be a growth year in the games industry as the consumer demand for gaming continues to evolve,” she added.

A final estimate on total consumer spend for the year of 2010 will release in March.

Responses – Sony focusses on software increase, Microsoft trumpets year-on-year hardware increase and Kinect sales


Sony focussed on a year-on-year 32 percent software increase in December in its post-NPD statement, as well as Move and the upcoming releases of Killzone 3 and LittleBigPlanet 2, which has scored a 94 so far on MetaCritic.

“Since PlayStation Move was introduced in September, millions of consumers and gamers have joined the PlayStation family,” said SCEA senior director of corporate comms, Patrick Seybold.

“The key to Move’s long-term success is developer and publisher support; enabling PlayStation to offer the most diverse line up of motion and 3D games. The combination of innovative hardware and a relentless line up of blockbuster titles is why the PS3 is perhaps the only console that grows more valuable over time.”

Microsoft, meanwhile, decided to focus on its big 360 YoY increase as well as the 8 million sales of Kinect it announced at CES at the start of the month.

It further promised that “several surprises” were to come from Microsoft for 360 in 2011, which would make it “another banner year for Xbox 360″ according to the company.

Nintendo’s statement is below, as is the rest of the NPD news from last night:



  1. onyxbox

    guess Kinect did the trick then

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Blerk

    Wow, Wii really caned it in the software charts too. Surprising to see Epic Mickey doing so well over there when it did practically nothing in the UK.

    Equally surprising to see the DS still so popular when it’s on the verge of being sidelined. Have there even been any high-profile DS games released in the last six months?

    So after all the ‘it’s over for Nintendo’ talk they’ve turned it around again. Seems a Nintendo is for Christmas, not for life. :-D

    How long before we see a US PS3 price cut, then?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Michael O’Connor

    @2 It was never “all over for Nintendo”. Their figures were simply going down. And even then, they’re still trouncing everyone else.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Blerk

    I never said it was. But plenty of people did, especially when the 360 started outselling the Wii for the last few months.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Psychotext

    I could have sworn I posted this… but here’s some LTD sales. More as I see them.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops – Over 12.0m
    Asscreed Bro – Over 2.5m
    Just Dance 2 – Over 2.2m
    Dance Central – Over 1.0m
    Kinect Sports – Over 1.0m
    Gran Turismo 5 – 0.96m

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Blerk

    Kinect Sports outsells GT5? What sorcery is this?

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Aimless

    @6 Numbers for GT5 aren’t tracked properly until it’s done installing.

    I imagine a lot of people simply switched to Forza over the intervening years, to be honest. GT has always been something of a niche curio that’s somehow found its way into the spotlight. Not to say it’s a bad game, although realistic racers aren’t my thing.

    #7 4 years ago



    #8 4 years ago
  9. Psychotext


    That was clear 6 months after the Wii launched.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. NiceFellow

    Real winner is Wii at this point. Sure it’s down YOY but in real terms (units) it’s still way ahead. It’s sales are dipping a bit with respect to itself but in real terms its selling more software and hardware and is therefore continuing to grow a larger presence.

    The 360 is up YOY sure, and it’s a good performance particularly for Kinect, but it still leaves it behind Wii nonetheless. Unless Kinect really takes off it’ll probably be down YOY next year as it was dipping badly during 2010 until the slim/Kinect boost.

    PS3 is actually acceptable as it’s down YOY as last year contained the Slim/Price cut boosts while this year it had no major software and only Move, which was launched low key and fairly far from December. Overall it’s holding well enough in US.

    @6 and 7 – GT has been dropping in popularity in US for a while, the numbers aren’t any surprise and in line with franchise trends in the region. GT has also been trending up in EMEA and looks to be kicking ass there. Japan is probably the only real disappointment for GT and this gen Japan has disappointed in sales for lots of franchises.

    Forza does okay but a ton of its sales are via bundles rather than standalone. Racing titles that are closer to sims just aren’t huge in US currently. Forza has a slight advantage over GT due to 360 vs PS3 install base but even that doesn’t make much difference if you remove bundles from the equation.

    I’m just curious to see if Kinect shows serious legs or not in terms of demand. That’s the real test, not having a good launch/holiday spike.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Psychotext

    Unless Kinect really takes off it’ll probably be down YOY next year as it was dipping badly during 2010 until the slim/Kinect boost.

    That’s not actually right. Prior to the S model being released the 360 was up 3% in the US vs the same period in 2009, and prior to Kinect being released it was up 34% vs the same period in 2009.

    PS3 is actually acceptable as it’s down YOY as last year contained the Slim/Price cut boosts while this year it had no major software and only Move, which was launched low key and fairly far from December.

    I’m going to get shit for “attacking the PS3″ here… but this year the PS3 had God of War 3, FFXIII (Ok, this was multiplatform, but PS3 version sales bitchslapped 360 version sales) and GT5. Those are some of the biggest hitters the PlayStation has. It was also on sale at a lower price than 2009 for 8 out of 12 months. (The PS3 had its price dropped / slim released in September 2009)

    Forza has a slight advantage over GT due to 360 vs PS3 install base but even that doesn’t make much difference if you remove bundles from the equation.

    Forza sales don’t come close to GT sales, not even vaguely close. Not sure what gave you that impression.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Gheritt White

    @ 10: No major software? Where the fuck is your God of War 3, Heavy Rain, Gran Turismo 5 and MAG now?

    #12 4 years ago
  13. OlderGamer

    “I’m going to get shit for “attacking the PS3″ here… ”

    Not from anyone with a level head and a realistic unbiased pov. Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade.

    Its not the end of the world for PS3, and of course your not saying it is either. But in the end it is what it is.

    Despite some already solid software, and more on the way the PS3 is third on the console list. Its yoy software sales reflect that.

    Anything more then that is pew pew pew.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Ge0force

    Casual gaming outsells core gaming, what’s new?

    #14 4 years ago

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