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

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."

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)

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