The launch of the biggest video games of the year was only enough to lessen the long-running slump in retail video game sales.
U.S. game industry receipts were down 11% in November, the month that saw the debut of such hot titles as “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” “Halo 4” and “Assassin’s Creed III” -- the top three titles of the month, in that order. Searching for a silver lining, NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan noted that “November had the smallest year-over-year decrease we have seen for dollar and unit sales so far this year.”
Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the No. 1 console for the 16th month straight, selling 1.26 million units.
Nintendo launched its new Wii U on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and sold 425,000 units by Saturday, Nov. 24. That's slightly less than the 475,000 units that the original Wii sold in its first week on sale in 2006.
However, the Wii remained a decent seller this holiday season, moving 420,000 units in November.
The Japanese game giant's portable 3DS sold 540,000 units, compared with 370,000 for the standard DS.
Sony did not immediately release sales data for its PlayStation 3 or PS Vita devices.
Half of all game sales in November were for the Xbox 360, Callahan said, a gain of eight share points over the same month in 2011.
Other games that sold well in November included “Just Dance 4,” “Madden NFL 13” and “Skylander Giants.” Toys tied to “Skylanders,” which let children play with characters from the game, were a hot item. Accessories for “Giants” were up 250% from those tied to the first “Skylanders” game from publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. last year.
Declines in new video-game sales at retail don’t reflect the growing digital market, rentals or used games, which together account for about half of industry revenue.
Video games sold during November in the U.S.
- "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" (Activision Blizzard)
- "Halo 4" (Microsoft)
- "Assassin’s Creed III" (Ubisoft)
- "Just Dance 4" (Ubisoft)
- "Madden NFL 13" (Electronic Arts)
- "Skylander Giants" (Activision Blizzard)
- "Need for Speed: Most Wanted" (Electronic Arts)
- "NBA 2K13" (Take 2 Interactive)
- "WWE 13" (THQ)
- "FIFA Soccer 13" (Electronic Arts)