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NPD: Behind the Numbers, December 2008
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NPD: Behind the Numbers, December 2008


January 19, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 5 Next
 

 

Software Charts in Detail

Along with the industry revenue figures, the NPD Group also released two important charts: the top 10 games for December 2008 and the top 10 games for all of 2008.

To begin with we will examine December's top 10. Five familiar Nintendo Wii titles dominate leading software: Wii Play (#1), Wii Fit (#3), Mario Kart (#4), Guitar Hero: World Tour (#5), and Animal Crossing: City Folk (#10).

This marks Wii Play's 23rd straight month in the top 10 and, amazingly, its first appearance as the #1 selling title for any of those months. Wii Fit has been on the chart since May of this year and Mario Kart since April.

Guitar Hero: World Tour for the Wii debuted at #12 on the chart in October, but climbed into the top 10 in November and December. Animal Crossing makes its first appearance in the top 10 after just missing the list the previous month. 

Here's the full countdown:

Top 10 Dec 2008

Note that all five of these Wii titles are closely associated with a peripheral pack-in. In the case of Guitar Hero and Wii Fit, the cost of that hardware also increases the price of the title significantly. (Critics will argue the same for Wii Play, which is admittedly an interesting case of bundling.)

Three of the remaining titles are for the Xbox 360 and also appeared in November's top 10: Call of Duty: World at War (#2), Gears of War 2 (#6), and Left 4 Dead (#7).

While the first two of those titles saw drops in sales going into December, the last one – Valve's Left 4 Dead – actually saw an increase of 116,000 units from its November figure.

The lone PlayStation 3 title in the top 10 (and, in fact, in the top 20) was Call of Duty: World at War. Regrettably for Sony's lead platform, sales for the PS3 version dropped more than the Xbox 360 version going from November to December.

Finally, it must be pointed out that Mario Kart for the Nintendo DS has returned to the top 10 chart at the #8 spot more than three years after it launched. According to Nintendo, the handheld racing title has thus far sold 4.3 million units in the United States alone.

Some well-known games did not make the top 10 or even the top 20 for December. In particular, Ubisoft's Prince of Persia did break into the individual platform top 10 lists for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. But it did not sell well enough on a single platform to crack the all-format top 20. (According to Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan, the game performed nearly twice as well as his 250,000 unit expectations for the month.)

Additionally, Tomb Raider: Underworld does not appear to have performed up to expectations. Moreover, neither Sony's Resistance 2 nor LittleBigPlanet cracked the top 20. Microsoft's Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts also appears to have missed the mark.

Top Software for 2008

According to the NPD Group, the top selling games (by units) were the following:

Top 10 All 2008

Several of the same titles which appeared on December's top 10 have also ranked as a top 10 selling games for the entire year.

Wii Play took the #1 spot and sold more copies in 2008 than it did in 2007. (Notably, its attach rate compared to Wii consoles is still higher than 50%, at least parly thanks to the packed-in Wiimote.) Follow Wii Play were Mario Kart for the Wii at #2, Wii Fit at #3, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl at #4.

The next nearest game, Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360, sold almost 900,000 copies fewer than Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Rounding out the top 10 were Call of Duty: World at War for the Xbox 360 (#6), Gears of War 2 (#7), the PlayStation 3 version of GTA4 (#8), Madden NFL 09 on the Xbox 360 (#9), and finally (and astoundingly) the relatively old Mario Kart for the Nintendo DS.

Even when these games are ranked by dollars generated, the top four titles (all for the Wii) will remain clustered as a group, with Wii Fit moving to the #1 spot, thanks to its premium pricing.


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