Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 was the best-selling game of 2015 – full NPD report

Friday, 15 January 2016 00:55 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Call of Duty rules the roost, PS4 reclaims the top of the charts, and new-gen hardware goes from strength to strength in the NPD’s 2015 report.

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NPD December 2015 and 2015 full year at a glance

No year-on-year growth for December 2015 and full year 2015, mostly due to last-gen decreases.

Hardware and software both down for the month and full year.

Accessories up both for the month and the year.

PS4 and Xbox One both showed growth with best month and year yet in software and hardware categories.

Call of Duty topped both monthly and full year sales charts.

Compare month-on-month: November 2015.

Compare year-on-year: December 2014.

The NPD has coughed up its December 2015 and full-year 2015 reports with some not unexpected results.

PS4 outsold Xbox One during December and across 2015, with Sony commenting that worldwide holiday sales topped 5.7 million consoles and 35 million games.

Both PS4 and Xbox One had their best month ever in terms of hardware unit sales in December, and at 26 months the combined cumulative sales of Xbox One and PS4 is 47% greater than the equivalent period total for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Don’t write this off as a holiday thing, either; it’s merely an increase on the 38% lead new-gen consoles held in October, and a continuation of the 47% lead through November. In total, the PS4, Xbox One and Wii combined U had their strongest month to date for hardware sales, up 4% year on year. Both PS4 and Xbox One had their strongest years to date, too.

General

Total industry spend for December 2015 fell 1.5% year-on-year to $3.22 billion, with a 10% increase in accessories to $7.61 million unable to make up shortfalls in software (down 3% to $1.21 billion) and hardware (down 6% to $1.24 billion).

For 2015 in full, total spend was flat at $13.13 billion. Hardware fell 4% to 4.86 billion, software fell 2% to $5.17 billion and accessories grew 12% to $3.10 billion.

The hardware drop is mostly down to the downward trend on last-gen hardware (down 71% year-on-year in December 2015) and portable hardware (down 32% year-on-year in December 2015), while software decreases may be ascribed to the shift to digital; just because people aren’t spending money in stores doesn’t mean they’re not spending it on games.

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Software

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 topped both the December 2015 and 2015 charts, to nobody’s surprise.

Although software sales were down year-on-year both for December and 2015 in total, the NPD said the problem is with portable and last-gen sales; PS4 and Xbox One software sales were up 48% year-on-year, while last-gen sales fell 54%. Even the Wii U had a good month – its second-best ever.

The upshot of this is that December 2015 was the best month so far for current-gen software sales, and 2015 was the best year yet for new-gen software sales.

PS4 had the strongest third-party software sales in 2015, Sony said, drawing on the NPD’s data.

Charts follow.

Top 10 new physical software sales, all platforms, December 2015

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  2. Star Wars Battlefront 2015 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
  3. Fallout 4 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  4. Madden NFL 16 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3)
  5. NBA 2K16 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3)
  6. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  7. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
  8. Minecraft (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3)
  9. Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Game Series (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3)
  10. FIFA 16 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3)

Top 10 new physical software sales, all platforms, 2015 total

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  2. Madden NFL 16 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3)
  3. Fallout 4 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  4. Star Wars Battlefront 2015 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
  5. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  6. NBA 2K16 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3)
  7. Minecraft (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4)
  8. Mortal Kombat X (PS4, Xbox One)
  9. FIFA 16 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3)
  10. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

As ever, the NPD’s data covers the US market only, and sticks to traditional bricks-and-mortar retail. It’s not representative of the health of the industry as a whole, especially internationally.

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