It was bad news as usual for the retail video game industry in the United States last month.
Analysts at the NPD Group say that retail sales across the video game industry were down 22% in December, from $4.1 billion in 2011 to $3.21 billion this time around.
As usual, software caused the biggest hit (dollar sales were down 27%), which analyst Liam Callahan attributes to fewer releases.
"A major culprit in the decline in retail sales in 2012 was the lack of new releases with 29% less SKUs across consoles, portables, and PCs," he said in a statement.
"However, the SKUs that were released generated 8% more units per SKU and 11% more dollars per SKU."
The top-selling debut title of the month was Ubisoft's Far Cry 3, which saw strong figures despite releasing in December rather than the traditional holiday window in November. In fact, the NPD says this is the second-highest December debut since the group started tracking sales in 1995. Activision's November release Call of Duty: Black Ops II was the overall best-selling title for the second month in a row.
Top 10 software chartThe top ten selling games in the country last month were as follows. Note that the NPD combines individual SKUs of the same title together when tallying its numbers.
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
2. Just Dance 4 (Wii, 360, Wii U, PS3)
3. Halo 4 (360)
4. Assassin's Creed III (360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
5. Madden NFL 13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSV, Wii U)
6. Far Cry 3 (360, PS3, PC)
7. NBA 2K13 (360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, PSP, PC)
8. Skylanders Giants (Wii, 360, PS3, 3DS, Wii U)
9. New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
10. FIFA Soccer 13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSV, Wii U, 3DS, PSP)
By the NumbersVideo game hardware: $1.07B (-20%)
Video game software (console, handheld): $1.54B (-26%)
Video game software (console, handheld, and PC): $1.58B (-27%)
Video game accessories: $603M (-14%)
Total video game sales: $3.21B (-22%)
Estimated used game, rental and "other physical" sales: $217M
Estimated digital sales: $765M
Total estimated video game spend in US: $4.1B