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November 2009 NPD Monthly Videogame Sales Figures
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November 2009 NPD Monthly Videogame Sales Figures

Modern Warfare 2 and Super Mario help lead the videogame industry out of the recession and to its second-biggest November ever.

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The finality of a year really strikes you once November rolls around. You look up and realize, “Hey! There’s only one month left and then it’s January again!” You think, “Where did the time go?” while the fallen brown leaves pile up in your yard and the chill gets cooler. You think about all of the things you didn’t accomplish in the year and attempt to play catch-up. Perhaps this explains the rush you see every “Black Friday” at those stores when people seem to go insane for limited stock goods. Low prices CAN’T be the true motivation behind this madness. If only they could be thankful for the present they already have.

Certainly the videogame industry was thankful for the catching up of purchases noted by The NPD Group, Inc. Yes, the economy still sucks but not enough to dissuade customers from buying up these electronic playthings. There were enough buys to make this the 2nd best-selling November in videogame history (behind November 2008’s record). Yet there will always be those who only see the negative. “Well, it’s only second best. The industry’s still down.” Hmph, talk about being thankful for what you got. For those who live in the positive, get a rush from these November estimates for the U.S.A.

Nintendo’s DS had a Butterball of a feast with a belly-busting 1,700,000 camera couples in the month of Thanksgiving. In the month of Halloween, the SD card mansion sold 457,600 of its kind showing almost a quadrupling of output! Nothing stops the DS. Five years after its debut the handheld defies all expectations of its longevity. This is the best-selling November the DS (or any handheld for that matter) has ever had showing that this system has not reached its peak quite yet. It’s a gimme that Game Boy’s 118 million-plus sales record will be beat soon perhaps even by December. What took the many versions of the Game Boy 12 years to sell, it took 5 for the DS to sell. In order to give the DS another challenging mountain to climb, we’ll have to add the 81 million-plus sales of the Game Boy Advance to the pot. That should take an extra 2 years or so.

Nintendo’s Wii beat the Stove Top stuffing out of ‘em with a nourishing 1,260,000 Koopaling keepsakes sold in the month of All Hallows Day. In the month of All Hallows Eve, the Mario monster sold 506,900 vertical white bricks showing more than a doubling of output! No doubt that New Super Mario Bros. Wii brought the star power to the console setting it up for gangbuster sales for the last month of the year. If not for a certain war simulator, the game would have topped the software charts. That certainly would have made Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime’s sales prediction a little more solid (he still has until the January NPDs to make good on his New SMB Wii vs. Modern Warfare 2 call). The game in the red case will certainly move the console in the white box lots and lots for the holiday season. Guaranteed.

Microsoft’s XBox 360 laid gravy all over the mashed potatoes with 819,500 dutiful callers sold in the month of Veterans Day. In the month of International Day of Non-Violence, Bill Gates’ gaming legacy sold 249,700 bundles of war showing a more than tripling increase. Well, looks like the 360 took the wind out of the PS3’s filling sails…again. Thanks for this goes to their version of hyper-anticipated monster hit Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 which became the fastest-selling and highest-grossing videogame release in history (beating out previous record holder Grand Theft Auto IV)! Big games like this one, Left 4 Dead 2, and Assassin’s Creed II will make sure the 360 comes full circle for December (whatever that’s supposed to mean). There’s a reason why green is that console’s signature color, ya know.

Sony PlayStation 3 sopped on the cranberry sauce with 710,400 great gigabyters in the month of Election Day. In the month of World Teachers’ Day, the Slim shaded one sold 320,600 comeback kids showing a more than doubling increase. While once again under the familiar hierarchy in the charts, this is not a failing for the PS3. In fact, this is the best November the PS3 has ever had! In fact, this seven hundred thousand-figure is in the neighborhood of PS3’s Decembers! The PS3 looks ready to finally break the 7-digit mark for the first time next month! Four months of comparative increasing trends from year-to-year. For a console without a major flagship game to represent them for the holidays, the PS3 is doing good! And no one can say that the 250 GB PS3 bundle with InFamous, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and The Dark Knight on Blu-ray is a bad deal. They’re finally getting their act together…at least here.

Sony PlayStation Portable cleared the table and washed loads of dishes with 293,900 Stop-N-Go’s in the month Fridays become Black. In the month Octobers become Red, Sony Corp. sold 174,600 mylo makeovers showing an almost doubling increase. While this doubling may look good on the surface, in reality it’s troubling. Count this as Month #15 of comparative yearly decline. This platform has been dragging since September 2008! And furthermore this November number is well under the 400,000/500,000 range the handheld is usually this time of year. November and December are the biggest-selling months of the year and it’s pulling in numbers like this?! PSPgo is PSPgone! And the older PSP version isn’t propping up this tent that well either. Where does the system go from here? Is it time for yet another handheld rendition?

Sony PlayStation 2 got the Itis and fell asleep on the couch with 203,100 ancient consoles sold in the month Daylight Savings Time ends. In the month Daylight Savings Time USED to end, the sixth-gen survivor sold 117,800 of its lingering kind showing an almost doubling increase. Looks like this old-timer made it to another holiday season. And its sales are just a few thousand under its totals from last year. Will we be seeing the PS2 on shelves at the end of 2010?! Gives a whole new meaning to 10-year plan, doesn’t it? 2010 year plan!

Bundled together, the U.S. videogame industry carved up $2.70 billion in total sales for November, a 7.6% gravy dip from last November. Of this (wow!) over 2 and a half billion-dollar figure, total hardware sales plopped down 13.4% to $1.05 billion while total software sales laid down 3.1% to $1.4 billion. In addition, total accessory sales sat down 5.5% to $242.2 million. Less than last year but what a year last year was!

For the year-to-date, the industry stomached down 12% to $14.13 billion. This sounds bad until you realize that this year-to-date is 7% up from this time in 2007. So in reality 2009 will replace 2007 as the best-selling year in videogame history. All this quibbling over a missing billion or two looks like a lesson in giving thanks is in need. These money pinchers are so overblown. Of course you realize that all percentages refer to year-to-year comparisons between November 2009 and November 2008, affirmative? Affirmative.

OK. Let’s cut to the chase. It’s all about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 this month. The U.S. combined total of the XBox 360 and PS3 versions of the game is about 6,070,000! Six freakin’ million, bruh! In less than 2 ½ weeks time (November NPD tracking period: Nov. 1st-28th)! And the ratio of this sum is 2 to 1 in favor of the 360, naturally. Hitting the scene like Halo 3 did in 2007, Grand Theft Auto IV did in 2008, Modern Warfare 2 seeks to make its mark among the greatest-selling games of all time. But Reggie’s favorite, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, looks most likely to have the most enduring longevity. The ultimate side-scrolling platformer makes a strong debut of its own this month. Even if it doesn’t make out good on beating one version of Modern Warfare 2 by the January NPDs, it is guaranteed that it will far surpass MW2 in the long run on its way to all-time best-sellers.

However they weren’t the only big timers on the list. A couple of popular XBox 360 sequels ranked high on the charts while a new version of the Wii trio of mainstays marks its territory. Meanwhile, a new role-playing game from the computer world does big business with its console editions. Feeling pressed for time? Then catch-up with the charts below.

NPD’s Top Hardware Sales in November

Nintendo DS – 1,700,000
Nintendo Wii – 1,260,000
Microsoft XBox 360 – 819,500
Sony PlayStation 3 – 710,400
Sony PlayStation Portable – 293,900
Sony PlayStation 2 – 203,100

NPD’s Top Ten Software Sales in November

01. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (X360) – 4,200,000
02. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3) – 1,870,000
03. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) – 1,390,000
04. Assassin’s Creed II (X360) – 794,700
05. Left 4 Dead 2 (X360) – 744,000
06. Wii Sports Resort (Wii) – 720,200
07. Wii Fit Plus (Wii) – 697,000
08. Assassin’s Creed II (PS3) – 448,400
09. Dragon Age: Origins (X360) – 362,100
10. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) – 315,000

The bonus Top 20 appears with both familiar and intriguing entries. Hey, what exactly is in those Value Game Bundles, anyhow?

NPD’s Top Twenty Software Sales in November

11. Wii Play (Wii)
12. Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympics (Wii)
13. Value Game Bundle $19.99 (Wii)
14. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (DS)
15. Dragon Age: Origins (PS3)
16. Value Game Bundle $14.99 (DS)
17. God of War I & II Collection (PS3)
18. Halo 3: ODST (X360)
19. Borderlands (X360)
20. Madden NFL 10 (X360)

About the Author: John Lucas