November NPD: PlayStation 4 tops hardware, with a caveat

The November US sales figures kick off the first salvos of PlayStation 4 versus Xbox One, and like many stats, you could argue for either side. Sony's PlayStation 4 officially led the pack for the month's sales, and also set an NPD record for the highest first month sales of a hardware platform. But, NPD notes, PS4 had an extra week that Xbox One didn't, so if the sales are averaged on a per-week basis, Xbox One beat it out. In other words, PlayStation 4 sold more, but Xbox One sold faster. And both were likely constrained by supply, as NPD points out.

Hardware sales on the whole rose by 58% over last year, driven by new console launches. A few sources have filled in some more detail on the hardware sales as well. Geoff Keighley tweeted that the Xbox One sold 909,132 units (the largest Microsoft launch on record), and Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) said the Xbox 360 moved approximately 647,000. Nintendo noted that 3DS sold 770,000 units in November, driving the lifetime sales above 10 million. It didn't give specific numbers for Wii U, however, only stating that it was up 340% over October.

Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto 5 was dethroned as the top-seller in November, falling down to the fifth-place slot behind newer blockbuster multiplatform games. Not surprisingly, Call of Duty: Ghosts took over the top spot, trailed closely by various recent games that just hit the new platforms.

    Top 10 Games (New Physical Retail only; new releases bolded)

  • Call Of Duty: Ghosts (360, PS3, PS4, XBO, PC, NWU)

  • Battlefield 4 (360, PS3, PS4, XBO, PC)

  • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (360, PS4, PS3, XBO, PC, NWU)

  • Madden NFL 25 (360, PS3, PS4, XBO)

  • Grand Theft Auto V (360, PS3)

  • NBA 2K14 (360, PS4, PS3, XBO, PC)

  • Skylanders SWAP Force (WII, 360, PS3, NWU, 3DS, XBO, PS4)

  • Just Dance 2014 (WII, 360, NWU, XBO, PS3, PS4)

  • Disney Infinity (WII, 360, PS3, NWU, 3DS)

  • FIFA 14 (360, PS3, PS4, XBO, PSV)

Nintendo's flagship Wii U game, Super Mario 3D World, didn't place--no doubt partly because it's not multiplatform. But Nintendo noted that it sold 215,000 across physical and digital platforms.

NPD is careful to point out as always that these figures only represent new physical retail sales. The data suggests that retail sales stood at just over $1 billion, which was a 24% drop from the same period last year. However, NPD estimates that used and rental games accounted for an additional $198 million, and digital sales (including subscriptions, apps, social games, and microtransactions) adds another $586 million. That brings the grand total for the industry just under $1.9 billion for the period.