November 2011 NPD shows predictably huge sales for sequels and consoles alike

The November 2011 NPD report is here and while we expected it to be big (since approximately 700 games came out on November 15 alone), we were curious to see how US consumers’ early holiday spending would break down. Here’s how the software list went:

1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, WII, PC)
2. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PS3, PC)
3. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
4. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (360, PS3, PC)
5. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360)
6. Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2)
7. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (PS3)
8. Saints Row: The Third (360, PS3, PC)
9. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (WII)
10. Batman: Arkham City (360, PS3, PC)

There’s so much to take from this list. First off, we weren’t shocked at all to see MW3 and Skyrim in 1 and 2, but to see Battlefield 3 remain so high in its second month shows that EA succeeded in taking part of Call of Duty’s market share. This makes it the best-selling Battlefield game ever, but it remains to be seen if BF3 will have the staying power on the NPD list that Black Ops did. Assassin’s Creed in the fourth spot is standard for the million-selling series, and the same is sadly accurate for Just Dance. It’s also worth noting that Just Dance 3’s Wii version was the best selling game on Wii in the US this November, even better than Skyward Sword.

Madden is the oldest title on the top ten and is a strong showing even for a series as big as that, while Uncharted 3 did well if not spectacularly, though you should remember its PS3-exclusivity limits its potential audience. Saints Row: The Third had a credible debut, but we sort of expected the multiplatform release to beat Uncharted 3. Elsewhere, the Zelda entry deserves a little explanation.

Nintendo’s PR was quick to highlight its NPD success and gave us some hard numbers. They mentioned that Super Mario 3D Land sold 625,000 in the US during November, while Zelda sold 600,000. So why isn’t Mario at 9 and Zelda at 10? According to Gamasutra (opens in new tab) NPD didn’t count all the Mario copies packed in with 3DS systems.

But don’t think that means the tenth entry for Batman means it was a sales failure for the month. According to the NPD group Arkham City has nearly matched the lifetime sales of Arkham Asylum in a little over a month. A similar situation happened with Elder Scrolls, as Skyrim has nearly matched Oblivion’s total sales in a matter of weeks.

As for the hardware charts, we know the ranks, but aren’t clear on all of the numbers.

360 – 1.7 Million
PS3 – ???
WII – 860k
3DS – 795k
DS – 350k

It looks like everyone was a winner with hardware, though the 360 had an exceptionally huge November, as Microsoft spokesman Major Nelson tweeted the sales success (opens in new tab), which is where we got the number. Nintendo revealed its hardware stats in the same announcement as the Mario/Zelda sales, with strong showings for consoles and handhelds. Sony hasn’t shared PS3 numbers, but they mentioned that it had been an exceptionally great Black Friday for them as well.

So there you have it. If anyone asks you if people bought videogames for the holidays, you can answer with a resounding “yes!”

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