NPD: America spent $3.1 billion on gaming in Nov, half of games sold on 360

Friday, 7th December 2012 08:48 GMT By Dave Cook

NPD industry analyst, Liam Callahan has released findings of his incoming February report, that places total consumer spending across America at $3.1 billion for the month of November alone. However, physical sales have indeed dipped, but the damage isn’t as bad as you might think. Get the stats below.

An excerpt of ‘Q4 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report’ sent to VG247 – to be published in February next year – painted a healthy picture of the games market in November overall, but noted that some areas of American sales, such as physical console sales were down.

Of the $3.1 billion total, NPD attributed half of that figure to physical hardware, software and accessory sales – a significant figure indeed.

Callahan said in his report that while physical sales are slowing, the impact of long generational cycles can be positively significant, “It’s important to compare this month’s results to November 2005, which was the last time the industry began to transition between console generations with the launch of a new platform.

“Comparing this month’s results to November 2005, retail video games sales are nearly twice as big as they were then [up] +97%. This really demonstrates the long-term health of retail sales even as many platforms are quite late in their lifecycles.

Callahan also downplayed a drop in game retail overall, suggesting that the drop was small compared to previous months, “Despite an overall retail video game decline of 11%, November had the smallest year-over-year decrease we have seen for dollar and unit sales so far this year. This is a sign of momentum going into the December holiday period.”


Elsewhere in the report, Callahan revealed that software sales across the board has dropped by 14%, but that the drop was the smallest of the year – tied with August – and added that November saw 21% less titles released compare to November last year. Earlier this week VG247 theorised that the thinning release slate really does signify the impending reveal of next-gen formats.

However, Callahan noted that while there well less games out this November, those games generated close to the average receipts of last year, with dollar sales down just 11% across the board. Hits like Halo 4, Black Ops 2 – which generated $1 billion on its own worldwide in just 15 days – and strong Wii U sales in the US helped keep figures relatively high.

Callahan painted a pretty picture for Microsoft for November, “Half of the software dollars sold in November 2012 were for the Xbox 360, which gained 8 share points in overall software sales from last November.”

The full report is coming in February 2013. We’ll have a full idea of Q4′s performance then.


The report proclaimed that across November, hardware shares were down, but that it was the lowest drop of the year, and that Xbox 360 remained the highest-selling console in America for its 16th consecutive month.

Nintendo saw great success with the Wii U, which Callahan stated saw more dollar-sales than its predecessor did when it launched in November 2006 – a rise of 21% – and added that even though Wii U costs 35% more than the original Wii, consumers seem willing to pay more for a superior product.

PS Vita naysayers may want to hold back a little though, as Callahan suggested that Sony’s handheld saw the second-highest sales month since the console launched, suggesting a resurgence of interest in the console.

What’s your take on the figures? Are we in need of next-gen now, or are these numbers purely part of the usual pre-xmas rush? Speak your mind below.



  1. The Auracle

    Having lived in Florida, I know first hand that the USA (and Canada, to some extent) is Xbox 360 territory. Especially now, as there’s a very strong “Buy American” ethos that influences some American consumers purchasing decisions.

    Personally, I just think most Americans find the Xbox LIVE a better online networking platform. It’s tremendously popular and I can’t see PSN/PS3 cutting into that market share in the States.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. The Auracle

    Another interesting highlight: physical sales dipping. In the grand scheme of things, physical sales have been dipping for quite some time. Most people don’t even think about it nowadays but we tend to make a lot more digital purchases now than we ever do physically, especially when you consider the advent of smartphones OS’s like iOS & Android, game DLC, games purchased over Steam et al.

    I think we’ll continue to see the physical numbers dwindle.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dave Cook

    @1 That is interesting actually. Is that something the administration is encouraging? – the notion of buying American?

    #3 2 years ago
  4. The Auracle

    @3 – It’s something I started hearing a lot more of after Gee Dubya Bush left office but I saw a lot of American-based companies pushing the “Buy American” argument to entice the types that would only buy foreign if it couldn’t be avoided.

    When I visited my daughter last Christmas, I saw a lot more of it on telly in the adverts. I still think Xbox LIVE is a crucial pillar in the X360 dominance in the USA but the “Buy American” ethos may very well have something to do with it, albeit indirectly.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. DrDamn

    I think it’s a natural sort of reaction to a recession. Invest internally, create jobs internally. Apple recently announced it was investing in building computers in the US too.

    Though I think from the start the 360 has appealed to US gamers more than the PS3. The buy American ethos will have had an impact from the beginning, there is maybe more impetus behind it now.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Khan979

    I live in the states, and I am sure that some people go for it for that reason…but i think the biggest part of it is most definately the chat/party system that the xbox has and PS3 really doesn’t (at least not of the same quality). My nephews for instance will get on create a party and chat with their friends all the time, even when they aren’t playing games. All the kids/teenagers i know got the xbox because that’s what their friends are on, and again the chat/party system is better.

    IMO the playstations chat/party system (or lack there of)blows compared to xbox’s party system. Persoanlly I have them both, for general solo gaming, I like the Playstation alot better, for playing co-op or competative with my friends I prefer the x-box.

    #6 2 years ago

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