NPD Numbers Reveal November Sales Slide

NPD Numbers Reveal November Sales Slide

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The NPD Group says total videogame sales for November declined 11 percent year over year, unless they didn't.

The videogame industry put up sales of $2.55 billion across hardware, software and accessories in the month of November, according to NPD Group figures, a drop of 11 percent over the $2.87 earned during November 2011. Hardware sales were down 13 percent, $838.9 million from $962.2 million the previous year, and accessory sales slid by eight percent, going from $305.3 million in 2011 to $280.9 million this year. Total software sales across console, portable and PC platforms hit $1.46 billion, down 11 percent over the previous year's mark of $1.65 billion.

But that's not really the whole tale. "These sales figures represent new physical retail sales of hardware, software and accessories, which account for roughly 50 percent of the total consumer spend on games," analyst Liam Callahan explained. "When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in November such as used and rentals at $207 million, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including microtransactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and the consumer spend on social network games at $410 million, we would estimate the total consumer spend in November to be over $3.1 billion."

By not tracking anything but new retail sales, in other words, the NPD Group is ignoring a substantial and growing part of the videogame market, which throws everything into a bit of a tailspin. Used sales and rentals may be declining, but digital is headed nowhere but up, to the point that in July, EA Labels President Frank Gibeau actually dismissed NPD numbers as "totally irrelevant" because of their exclusive focus on retail.

Callahan's "big picture" statement about the overall health of the industry is a bit more insightful. "It's important to compare this month's results to November 2005, which was the last time the industry began to transition between console generations with the launch of a new platform. Comparing this month's results to November 2005, retail video games sales are nearly twice as big as they were then (+97 percent)," he said. "This really demonstrates the long-term health of retail sales even as many platforms are quite late in their lifecycles."

The top ten selling videogames (again, new, physical retail only) for November 2012:

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
  2. Halo 4
  3. Assassin's Creed III
  4. Just Dance 4
  5. Madden NFL 13
  6. Skylander Giants
  7. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
  8. NBA 2K13
  9. WWE 13
  10. FIFA Soccer 13

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*rolls eyes*
I'm with the guy from EA on this, if the NPD aren't looking at digital sales along with retail then they're just wasting every ones time with these reports

Come on, count the digital sales, many people like to download games now, if they counted those numbers, I think they would see that sales are still strong.

This is why I don't take the NPD's numbers seriously. This is also why I laugh at anyone who uses the NPD's numbers in a debate. Until they count digital sales no one will care what they have to say. Of course this could be dependent on Valve not releasing sales numbers that Steam gains.

November last year had a ridiculous number of games released: Uncharted 3, Skyrim, another Call of Duty, Sonic Generations,
Metal Gear Solid HD collection, Super Mario 3D Land, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Halo: CE Anniversary, Saint's Row the Third, Rayman Origins, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, the PC version of Arkham City, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Serious Sam 3: BFE.

So yeah. This news is not surprising, even if they would have counted digital sales.

feels weird to actually support EA on something but its right. the only thing it proves is changing buying patterns of consumers from retail to digital not a decline in the industry

Wait the Wii U came out in November and none of its games broke the top 10?

I really wish companies would release their digital sales. Really makes you wonder if games like Halo4 would really be anywhere near the top.

FelixG:
Wait the Wii U came out in November and none of its games broke the top 10?

I'd say that's because it was released within the last week and a half of November, and that only about 400,000 units. In contrast, CoD: BLOP II (Which is a part of the WiiU, so it's sales are probably in there) has sold 1,000,000,000 units! In a way, the WiiU is in the list, just not with one of it's exclusives. By Next year, though, I expect them to be topping the charts for consecutive months.

 

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