Top 10 best-selling games of 2011 worldwide includes tons of warfare and dancing

The December 2011 NPD list (opens in new tab) was released yesterday, closing off the year’s sales in style, with huge numbers for almost all the franchises you’d expect. But just because something was a big seller at the end of the year doesn’t always mean it was the best seller of the entire 12 months combined, right? Actually, that’s exactly what it means. NPD released their list of the top ten highest sellers in the US for 2011, and it’s probably close to what you expected:

1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
2. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)
3. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PS3, PC)
4. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
5. Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2)
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, Wii, NDS, PC)
7. Batman: Arkham City (360, PS3, PC)
8. Gears of War 3 (360)
9. Just Dance 2 (Wii)
10. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (360, PS3, PC)

The top three sellers for December and all of 2011 are the same, and all the games on this list except for Madden, Just Dance 2 and Black Ops came out in the fall. In a strange combination, it seems that American gamers love two things: dancing and military shooters. Also worth noting is that only two games are system exclusives and that no portable titles made the list, despite Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 having really strong showings at the year’s end.

Other parts of the world also posted their top sellers for the year. Take a look at the UK’s and you’ll see some striking similarities:

1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, PC, Wii)
2. FIFA 12 (360, PS3, PC, Wii)
3. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
4. Zumba Fitness (Wii)
5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PS3, PC)
6. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)
7. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (360, PS3, PC)
8. LA Noire (360, PS3, PC)
9. Saints Row: The Third (360, PS3, PC)
10. Batman: Arkham City (360, PS3, PC)

Both countries shared the same top title, six games total are similar, and it looks like their love of soccer outweighed our enthusiasm for football. Also it seems their love of Just Dance 3, while strong, is outpaced by their need to exercise. And how do those compare to the Japanese top ten?

1. Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
2. Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)
3. Monster Hunter Freedom 3 (PSP)
4. Monster Hunter Tri G (3DS)
5. Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3, 360)
6. Final Fantasy Type-0 (PSP)
7. Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii)
8. Tales of Xillia (PS3)
9. Wii Sports Resort (Wii)
10. Wii Party (Wii)

Wow, that’s pretty different from the other territories. Almost all are system exclusives, the top two are 3DS games, with PSP taking a couple spots, something you’ll never see outside Japan. And despite what you may have heard about the death of the JRPG, they still seem to be going strong as half of the list is role-playing games. Also, in case you were wondering, no 360 or PS Vita title made the top 100 sellers in Japan, with Gears of War 3 and Hot Shots Golf selling the highest for each of those platforms.

Now that you’ve seen this more global view, what do you think of the most popular games worldwide?

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