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

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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.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    December 11, 2008 3:49 PM

    Can't believe the staying power of those 2 Wii titles. Just amazing. Less amazing but expected are the quite low sales numbers for Resistance 2 and the complete absence of LBP. I guess all eyes are on Killzone2 to be the knight in shining armor to ride in and save the PS3's bacon. To tell the truth, I really hope it does. As many have already said, this generation wouldn't be half as sweet without the bitter rivalry between MS and Sony.

    • reply
      December 11, 2008 4:55 PM

      I agree about the bitter rivalry. As low as it is, it's fun to hurl stuff from the peanut gallery but I don't think Killzone 2 is going to ride in like Sir Lancelot. If any title was going to play savior I would have put my money on Little Big Planet which is not doing anywhere near the business people said it would (though I suppose it could have long legs). Killzone 2 is being released in February. That's not a big buying season. People that bought Resistance will pick it up so we should be looking at a million or so units sold? That's not going to turn the tide. I think Sony's hopes will shift over to God of War 3.

      Redmond must be smiling at these numbers. I wonder how gracious their press release will be.

    • reply
      December 11, 2008 5:09 PM

      not to burst the bubble, but it seems like each game is the ps3's last hope
      MGS4, LBP... and now Killzone 3, soon GOW III

      • reply
        December 11, 2008 5:20 PM

        I think in this case, it's the hardware. $399 for a console when you can pick up a 360 or Wii for much less, is continuing to shrink the PS3's potential user base especially in this economy.