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November Console Games Sales: Wii Dominates as Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty Sell Millions

Per tradition, sales-tracking research group NPD has issued its regular list of the past month's best-selling console games at U.S. retailers.

According to NPD, the top-selling console titles in November 2008 were:

  1. Gears of War 2 (Epic, Xbox 360) - 1.56 million units*
  2. Call of Duty: World at War (Treyarch, Xbox 360) - 1.41 million units*
  3. Wii Play (Nintendo, Wii) - 796,000 units
  4. Wii Fit (Nintendo, Wii) - 697,000 units
  5. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo, Wii) - 637,000 units
  6. Call of Duty: World at War (Treyarch, PS3) - 597,000 units
  7. Guitar Hero World Tour (Vicarious Visions, Wii) - 475,000 units*
  8. Left 4 Dead (Valve, Xbox 360) - 410,000 units
  9. Resistance 2 (Insomniac, PS3) - 385,000 units*
  10. Wii Music (Nintendo, Wii) - 297,000 units

(*includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

While Gears of War 2 was the best-selling game on a per-platform basis, the PS3 and Xbox 360 sales of Call of Duty: World at War top Gears 2 if combined.

Notable absences from the list include Mirror's Edge (PS3, 360) and Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii)--both November games--as well as LittleBigPlanet (PS3), which arrived in the final days of October after a last-minute delay.

"Reinforcing that at this point in the cycle, content is once again king, year-to-date games sales growth is 31%. The top-10 list of games shows just how varied the most popular games have become," explained NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

Frazier also touched on Gears of War 2, Wii Music and the strength of PC software.

Gears of War 2 "certainly didn't disappoint," she affirmed, with a 13% attach rate to the Xbox 360 install base. "These are the types of platform exclusive games that are so important to the continued strength of any given platform."

While Wii Music saw a "soft introduction" last month, Frazier saw the debut of Wii Music within this month's top 10 as "a testament to the power of a comprehensive marketing campaign and the very strong brand equity that the Wii platform enjoys."

As for PC, Frazier noted that "we would be remiss not to point out the strength of PC game sales this month as lead by the release of the latest World of Warcraft expansion pack. Wrath of the Lich King sold over 1.4 million units in the U.S. during its debut month at retail."

Overall, the video game industry saw a 22% growth over last year, bringing in $2.91 billion this November over $2.64 billion last. Thus far, the industry has amassed $16 billion in 2008, and is on track to hit $22 billion, according Frazier.