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December NPD: 2012 sales hit $13.26 billion, Black Ops 2 leads the pack

Jordan Mallory

During a period that encompassed both post-Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping and the Christmas season (November 25 through December 29), the physical retail sector of the video games industry pulled in $3.2 billion, bringing the total dollar amount spent in 2012 up to $13.26 billion, which is just a little less than half of one Scrooge McDuck money vault. Both December and the year as a whole were down 22 percent from their respective 2011 counterparts, according to NPD data, with December 2011 earning $4.10 billion and all of 2011 pulling down a smooth $16.99 billion.

Hardware sales specifically amount to 20 percent less in 2012 than in 2011, reporting $1.07 billion for the period and $4.04 billion for the year as a whole. Most of the decline this December, however, was seen in non-HD system sales, according to NPD analyst Liam Callahan. Hardware bundles that included software sold 37 percent more than they did last December, with sales of stand-alone hardware SKUs dropping 37 percent to balance the scales.

The Xbox 360 once again held the top spot in overall hardware sales in December, with 1.4 million units sold according to Major Nelson. Meanwhile, the Wii U experienced its inaugural holiday shopping season this period. It sold fewer units that the original Wii did during its launch in December of 2006, but earned comparatively three percent more moolah than the Wii for the month. The Wii U's most expensive SKU costs $350, compared to the Wii's single $250 model.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 topped off physical retail software sales in both December and 2012 as a whole, which totaled $1.54 billion for the month and $2.67 billion for the year, down 26 and 23 percent from 2011, respectively. Surprisingly, Far Cry 3 accomplished the second-most successful December launch NPD has recorded since it started monitoring sales in 1995, earning it the number six slot on the list of December's top 10 best-selling games. The list of 2012's 10 best-selling games can also be found after the break, in all of its "comprised entirely of sequels" glory.

Top 10 best-selling games of December 2012:

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
  2. Just Dance 4 (Wii, 360, Wii U, PS3)
  3. Halo 4 (360)
  4. Assassin's Creed 3 (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. Skylander 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)
Top 10 best-selling games of 2012:
  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
  2. Madden NFL 13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSV, Wii U)
  3. Halo 4 (360)
  4. Assassin's Creed 3 (360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
  5. Just Dance 4 (Wii, 360, Wii U, PS3)
  6. NBA 2K13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, Wii U, PC)
  7. Borderlands 2 (360, PS3, PC)
  8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
  9. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Wii, 360, NDS, PS3, 3DS, PSV, PC)
  10. FIFA Soccer 13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSV, 3DS, Wii U, PSP)

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