Skip to main content

NPD December: Black Ops 2 tops month, year

The NPD Group's full monthly report for December 2012 is in, showing the unsurprising chart topping of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and a continued retail slump.

In the software charts below you'll see that games which sold strongly in December also feature heavily in the 2012 overall chart, showing just how important the holiday season is to the industry.

This makes it all the more depressing that December noted a 22% year-on-year decrease in total industry spend at just $3.21 billion.

Coincidentally, 2012 overall also saw a 22% drop on 2011's figures, bringing in $13.26 billion, down from $17 billion.

In individual categories, hardware dropped 20% YOY in December and 27% for the year, for totals of $1.07 billion and $4.04 billion respectively.

Software fell 27% to $1.58 billion in December and 22% for the year to $7.09 billion.

Accessories, given a major boost last year by the arrival of Skylanders, failed to maintain its momentum, dropping 8% for an annual total of $2.51 billion.

However as always it's worth remembering that this NPD report tracks new physical retail spend only, failing to account for digital, mobile and online sales; the used game trade; and even retail purchase of DLC and points cards.

"2012 was also the best year for point card and subscription card sales as gamers sought digital content on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Nintendo's eShop. Games like Journey and Minecraft broke records for number of games downloaded," NPD Liam Callahan pointed out.

NPD December 2012: Software

Callahan said the lack of new IP and releases in general, a product of the ageing console cycle, contributed to a decline in software sales at retail.

Compared with 2011, there were 29% fewer titles released in 2012 in general, but each of them produced 8% more unit sales and 11% more dollar spend., suggesting an icnreased emphasis on fewer, bigger titles.

“In December 2012, positive trending for many annualized franchises like Call of Duty, Skylanders, Assassin's Creed, and FIFA, points to consumers' increased spending on hits, but that middle-tier games as well as catalog titles are suffering," Callahan said.

The top ten bestsellers of December generated a whopping 46% of total spend during the month, a 12% year-on-year increase.

Top Ten Games December 2012 (new physical retail, all platforms

  1. Call of Duty Black Ops 2 (PC, PS3, Wii U, X360)
  2. Just Dance 4 (PS3, Wii, Wii U, X360)
  3. Halo 4 (X360)
  4. Assassin's Creed 3 (PC, PS3, Wii U, X360)
  5. Madden NFL 13 (PS3, PSV, Wii, Wii U, X360)
  6. Far Cry 3 (PC, PS3, X360)
  7. NBA 2K13 (PC, PS3, PSP, Wii, Wii U, X360)
  8. Skylanders Giants (3DS, PS3, Wii, Wii U, X360)
  9. New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
  10. (FIFA Soccer 13 (3DS, PS3, PSP, PSP, Wii, Wii U, X360)

Top Ten Games 2012 (new physical retail, all platforms)

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (PC, PS3, Wii U, X360)
  2. Maddeen NFL 13 (PS3, PSV, Wii, Wii U, X360)
  3. Halo 4 (X360)
  4. Assassin's Creed 3 (PC, PS3, Wii U, X360)
  5. Just Dance 4 (PS3, Wii, Wii U, X360)
  6. NBA 2K13 (PC, PS3, PSP, Wii, Wii U< X360)
  7. Borderlands 2(PC, PS3, X360)
  8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (PC, PS3, X360)
  9. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (3DS, DS, PC, PS3, PSV, Wii, X360)
  10. FIFA Soccer 13 (3DS, PS3, PSP, PSV, Wii, Wii U, X360)

Read this next