NPD December: Industry sales decline 21%; MW3, 360 tops

Friday, 13th January 2012 00:37 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

NPD December 2011 report has shown US industry sales at $3.99 billion, a 21% year-over-year decline.

“Overall industry results are not entirely surprising given that we are on the back end of the current console lifecycle, combined with the continued digital evolution of gaming,” noted NPD’s Anita Frazier. “Core gamers continue to be engaged and spend on established franchises across both the digital and physical format using multiple devices for different gaming occasions.”

December at a Glance

Hardware sales at $1.32 billion, a 28% year-over-year decline.

Xbox 360 moves 1.7 million units; total retail spend on 360 in December was $1.5 billion.

3DS and the DS the only platforms with a unit sales increase over November.

Software sales hit $2.04 billion, a 14% year-over-year decline.

Top 3 games for the month: Modern Warfare 3, Just Dance 3 and Skyrim, respectively.

Hardware sales plummet 28%

Hardware sales were down 28% year-over-year to $1.32 billion compared to 2010′s $1.84 billion, a $520 million difference.

“Hardware was particularly hard hit in December,” noted Fraiser. “Normally, we see sales increase from November to December on an average sales per week basis (keeping in mind December is a 5-week retail month as compared to November which is a four-week retail month).

“The 3DS and the DS were the only platforms to realize a unit sales increase versus November, which is highly unusual since typically all platforms enjoy a lift in the biggest month at retail.”

Xbox 360 sold 1.7 million units in December, a decline of 8.6%, making it the tenth consecutive month the console held a over 40% market share. It’s now been the top-selling console in the US for 12 straight months.

Microsoft estimated that approximately half of December’s retail spend on games, consoles and accessories went toward Xbox 360 products, totaling more than $1.5 billion. The firm now boasts an overall 46% of total console market share in the US.

Sony responded to tonight’s figures, saying PS3 had a “banner 2011″ with an increase in hardware and peripheral sales. Sony, as previously reported this week, sold 6.5 million units of hardware worldwide in 2011.

Accessories sales also showed a 27% year-over-year decline, with NPD reporting $628.7 million for December, compared to $863.5 million in 2010.

Software down 14%

Sales in retail software showed a year-over-year decline of 14%, with sales reaching $2.04 billion compared to 2010′s $2.37 billion. Still, software sales for HD platforms were up 8% in dollars for the month.

During the month of December, seven of the top 10 titles on the NPD chart were available for Xbox 360, eight were available on PS3, and six were available for Nintendo platforms.

Nintendo has yet to release its statement.

Star Wars: The Old Republic was the 14th best-selling title in December, and while the collector’s edition sold less than the regular SKU, both generated about the same in dollar sales.

“The top 20 titles in December generated nearly half total software revenue for the month, which is very high,” said Frazier. “There is one title that would have fallen in the top 10 for December if we were ranking on an SKU basis rather than on a combined platform basis as we do now: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was the 10th best selling software SKU for the month of December.”

NPD Software Top 10

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
  2. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)
  3. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PS3, PC)
  4. Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
  5. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
  6. Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2)
  7. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (360, PS3, PC)
  8. NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC)
  9. Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)
  10. Batman: Arkham City (360, PS3, PC)



  1. Razor

    “Nintendo said something something Wii and 3DS”

    Come on Steph, you’re slacking ;)

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Stephany Nunneley

    Oh F***. LOL! I forgot to take my “Nintendo note goes here” out. :P

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Razor

    Hehe :P


    “Microsoft now boasts an overall 46% of total console market share.”

    Good Lord… this is why you worry about Sony in the US; so many people now locked into Xbox Live, with all their friends and digital media on Xbox…it’s going to be so hard for Sony to recapture those people with PS4.

    SCEA have truly been an embarrassment this generation.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Telepathic.Geometry

    There goes the fourth wall. :)

    #4 3 years ago
  5. freedoms_stain

    “During the month of December, seven of the top 10 titles on the NPD chart were available for Xbox 360, eight were available on PS3* I count 8 for both in that list.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Psychotext

    @5: Seems like an odd mistake to make.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. frostquake

    This will be a Bad Year! We will see incremental sale increases, but nothing substantial. PSVita will do well for a short period, and that will be tied into the game library for sustainability for the rest of the year.

    The USA Economy is going to be worse this year. The Job Gains we got In December 2011 Jobs report was good, but turned out most of those are Temporary Retail and Construction Jobs, so we will plummet again.

    Tax Returns should help the USA Economy for a bit, but not much and it won’t last.

    So, I guess the Rest of the Worlds Economy will have to be “GOLD” to pick the HUGE Slack the USA is going through!

    #7 3 years ago
  8. ManuOtaku

    The sad thing is that cloud gaming representatives, supportes,spokesperson, etc, will take this as a sing of the upcoming “doom” of dedicated home gaming consoles, just like it did happen a few months ago with the handheld market, instead of seeing as a possible cause for this situation the bad economy all over the world (europe, asia, U.S, etc)

    #8 3 years ago
  9. jdfoster00

    Not surprised. I passed on a few games this year too. Just don’t have as much money. The recession etc and games being 40 pounds plus… (60-70 usd)

    I don’t think the games industry sales will climb until games become cheaper and the economy sorts it self out.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. fearmonkey

    Normally by this time in the console generation, we would start to have new console hardware – next gen stuff, and that would help hardware sales.
    People would buy the new hardware, the price would drop on the old and it would be great for everyone. By dragging out the releases between new hardware, it seems that its only going to go downhill until new consoles arrive.
    If Nintendo gets everyone excited about the Wii-u, then next years numbers should be great. IF Not……..
    Most people that want a console already own one, they might buy a 2nd console or take a chance on another manufacturer, but the mass purchasing of new consoles aren’t going to happen until a next gen happens, or a major price drop.

    #10 3 years ago

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