NPD: Xbox One Topples PS4 During December

The NPD tracking group has released their monthly report for December 2013 along with overall stats for the entire year.  For December, software sales were down 17% earning only $1.28 billion compared to $1.54 billion from December 2012.  However, hardware was up a staggering 28% earning $1.37 million compared to $1.07 billion December 2012.  This strong growth is credited to the release of PS4 and Xbox One.

Here are the best-selling titles for December 2013:

  1. Call of Duty: Ghosts (Activision)
  2. Battlefield 4 (EA)
  3. Just Dance 2014 (Ubisoft)
  4. Madden NFL 25 (EA)
  5. NBA 2K14 (2K Games)
  6. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft)
  7. Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar)
  8. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (Warner Bros.)
  9. FIFA 14 (EA)
  10. Skylanders: SWAP Force (Activision)

2013 in general was pretty healthy for the industry, though it couldn’t escape the red zone.  Game sales stood at $12.97 billion, down 2% from 2012s $13.27 billion.  The addition of new consoles and strong showings from Grand Theft Auto V, the Call of Duty franchise and Madden help close the gap to just 2%.

Heren are the best selling games of 2013:

  1. Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar)
  2. Call of Duty: Ghosts (Activision)
  3. Madden NFL 25 (EA)
  4. Battlefield 4 (EA)
  5. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft)
  6. NBA 2K14 (2K Games)
  7. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Activision)
  8. Just Dance 2014
  9. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (Microsoft)
  10. Disney Infinity (Disney)

NPD Analyst Liam Callahan noted that Take-Two Interactive was the top publisher thanks to the humongous success of Grand Theft Auto alongside the sales of BioShock Infinite and NBA 2K14.  Grand Theft Auto V is within distance of topping Grand Theft Auto: San Andrea’s lifetime sales after only four months.

So, with so much positivity in the industry why were software sales low in December?  “Part of the reason for the 17% decline in video game software sales was the poor performance of November launches in December 2013,” Callahan stated in his report. “Specifically, there was a 27% dollar decline for sales of November 2013 launches in December 2013, compared to November 2012 launches in December 2012. Additionally, due to the success of December 2012 hit, Far Cry 3, December 2013 launches were down 85% compared to those games launching in December 2012.”

2013 hits Pokemon X and Y and The Last of Us would have made the list of top-selling games of 2013 if game sales were counted by individual SKUs instead of being all clumped together (i.e. All of Call of Duty: Ghost’s sales for each platform are counted together.  Their exclusivity to one platform is what caused them to be left off the list.

Hardware wise the 3DS was the top selling console of the month based on units sold, but “with its $499.99 price point, the Xbox One led annual hardware sales on a dollars basis.” Callahan also wrote that Xbox One led consoles sales in December, though he added that “PS4’s two-month total makes it the best selling console during the two-month launch window.”  Wii U sales saw an increase, though were unable to topple the next-gen consoles or even the PS3 and Xbox 360.

“PlayStation 4 remains the cumulative leader for next gen console sales in the U.S. since the launch on November 15,” replied Dan Race, senior director of corporate communications for Sony Computer Entertainment of America.  “We sold every PS4 available at retail in the U.S. and were out of stock in December due to overwhelming consumer demand. With more than 4.2 million PS4 systems sold worldwide, it’s clear that the PS4’s gaming and entertainment features are resonating with large audiences and we’re doing our best to provide additional inventory in all of the 53 countries where it’s available.”  No sales numbers were given, though at CES Sony revealed that 4.2 million PS4s were sold worldwide.

Microsoft reported that 908,000 Xbox Ones were sold along with 643,000 Xbox 360s during December.  “Fans continue to show their excitement for new generation Xbox One games, with U.S. consumers purchasing an average of 2.9 games per console since launch,” Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb revealed in a statement.  Prior to CES Microsoft revealed that 3 million Xbox Ones have been sold worldwide.

Nintendo has not released any sales numbers for the Wii U or 3DS.