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NPD Numbers: December Software Sales Continue Nintendo Domination

bleahy
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Posted January 15, 2009 - By bleahy

The December NPD numbers are out and it's time to look at the software sales figures and go crazy over them. You can also check out Raymond's story on the hardware numbers (spoiler alert: Nintendo had a record-breaking month).

With the recession, I was very interested in the December numbers. More importantly, how would the November releases hold up going into the end of 2008? Finally, would Sony manage to put an exclusive in the top 10?

If you recall back to November's numbers, Microsoft snagged #1 and #2 with Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty: World at War. What happened in December?

First thing is first... here's the list:

  1. Wii Play (Wii) - 1,460,000
  2. Call of Duty: World at War (Xbox 360) - 1,330,000
  3. Wii Fit (Wii) - 999,000
  4. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) - 979,000
  5. Guitar Hero World Tour (Wii) - 850,000
  6. Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360) - 745,000
  7. Left 4 Dead (Xbox 360) - 629,000
  8. Mario Kart DS (DS) - 540,000
  9. Call of Duty: World At War (PS3) - 533,000
  10. Animal Crossing City Folk (Wii) - 497,000

Well, I can immediately dismiss Wii Play's #1 performance as the result as it is basically just an extra Wiimote for all the new Wii's that were sold last month (in record amounts). Moving on to Call of Duty: World at War: it holds that the CoD name is definitely a franchise to be reckoned with at this point. Additionally, we continue to see multiplatform titles perform better on the Xbox 360 over the PS3.

None of the games in the top 10 were actually released in December, but that is to be expected as game releases tend to slow down after November. Ubisoft might be forced to take a hard look at Prince of Persia as it wasn't exactly a blockbuster for them. The only other major console release was the Wii and PS2 versions of Rock Band 2, but it seems that gamers prefer the Guitar Hero brand on the Wii. That makes me sad as Rock Band 2 is the better game. Then again, most casual gamers believe that Rock Band ripped off Guitar Hero. They don't know that Harmonix made the original Guitar Hero before moving on to Rock Band.

The Wii titles are selling well because the Nintendo is selling Wii consoles. Let this be a lesson for Sony. Selling consoles means more game sales. Besides Guitar Hero, first party titles are dominating Wii software sales and maybe 3rd party publishers should reanalyze the strategy of cranking out Wii games. What surprises me most about these numbers? Where are all the DS games? As Raymond reported, the DS sold 3.04 million DS's in the US last month, but the highest selling title was Mario Kart with 540,000. That's not an attach rate to be proud of, but I'm sure Nintendo is more than happy with the hardware sales.

Gears of War 2 continues to sell well and December's performance brings its total US sales over 2 million. It's definitely a strong franchise that Microsoft will want to keep around, but it's still not Halo. Left 4 Dead actually sold around 200,000 more copies in December versus November, which can happen with a new IP. Especially one that gets such great word of mouth from friends. It seems that Aaron Greenberg's prediction about December's NPD numbers were spot on as he teased strong performances from Call of Duty: World at War, Gears of War 2, and Left 4 Dead. In fact, he even mentioned them in that order!

Now, on to Sony. Resistance 2 hasn't managed to grab a second wind and will probably trickle up to a million units as the months go by. The fact that Sony didn't get a first-party, exclusive title in the top 10 should be alarming for Sony's executives. Furthermore, the only title they had in the top ten was a multiplatform game that performed better on the Xbox 360. Maybe it's time for that price-drop that analysts and Adam Sessler are predicting as necessary steps for Sony.

So, here they are. The illustrious December NPD software numbers. Were you surprised? Shocked? Appalled? Let us know!

Source (thanks Kotaku!)

NPD Numbers: December Software Sales Continue Nintendo Domination
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