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Additional December 2008 NPD Sales Roundup and Analysis

by Carmine Red - January 28, 2009, 11:27 pm EST
Total comments: 5 Source: Wired

A closer look exposes Nyko's Wii accessory success, revisits third-party representation, and provides sales insight for games like Shaun White Snowboarding, Call of Duty: World at War, and Personal Trainer: Cooking.

NOTE: This story concerns December NPD monthly sales. For whole year 2008 sales, click here.

Whenever the NPD Group's sales estimates are revealed for each month, the exact numbers for the top 10 charting titles are all that is usually provided. The charts for the top 20 games overall and top 10 games on each platform are typically devoid of numbers.

However, using information gathered from a range of sources, including the game companies themselves, one can establish a sales range for games outside the top 10. Comparing games in the NPD top 20 against Wii Music on the high end and Little Big Planet, which failed to chart in the top 20 at all, on the low end has suggested that the games placing 12 to 20 have all sold between 255,000 units and 487,000 units each in December 2008.

The DS games that can now be estimated to have sold at least 255,000 copies in December are New Super Mario Bros., Personal Trainer: Cooking, and Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force. The Wii games that fall in the same range include Link's Crossbow Training, Call of Duty: World at War, and Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip.

There is one additional bit of hard data though: Rock Band 2 is reported to have sold about 150,000 units. The Wii sequel was released three months after versions of the game for other consoles, and two months after Activision's Guitar Hero: World Tour appeared on the Wii. The late arrival probably helped not just Activision's game, but the first Rock Band game on the Wii which is reported to have sold a million units in 2008.

December 2008 U.S. Additional Wii Software Sales

Rock Band 2 (Wii) – 150k

December 2008 U.S. Top 20 Software Sales

Wii Play (Wii) – 1.46m

Call of Duty: World at War (X360) – 1.33m*

Wii Fit (Wii) – 999k

Mario Kart Wii (Wii) – 878k

Guitar Hero: World Tour (Wii) – 859k*

Gears of War 2 (X360) – 745k*

Left 4 Dead (X360) – 629k

Mario Kart DS (DS) – 540k

Call of Duty: World at War (PS3) – 533k

Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii) – 497k*

Wii Music (Wii) – 487k

New Super Mario Bros. (DS) – 255k-487k**

Personal Trainer: Cooking (DS) – 255k-487k**

Fallout 3 (X360) – 255k-487k**

Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force (DS) – 255k-487k**

Link's Crossbow Training (Wii) – 255k-487k**

Guitar Hero: World Tour (PS2) – 255k-487k* **

Madden NFL 09 (X360) – 255k-487k* **

Call of Duty: World at War (Wii) – 255k-487k**

Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip (Wii) – 255k-487k**

Ranking games by revenue generated yields a different top ten than when using units sold. In many cases this benefits games on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 since their retail prices are usually significantly higher than Wii games and offerings from either handheld system. However, the top 10 for December still contained five Wii titles, with Animal Crossing falling off the list and Rock Band 2, which despite being released late in December benefited from a high retail price.

2008 Top Ten U.S. Software Sales (by Revenue)

Wii Fit (Wii)

Guitar Hero: World Tour (Wii)

Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii)

Call of Duty: World at War (X360)

Mario Kart (Wii)

Gears of War 2 (X360)

Rock Band 2 (X360)

Left 4 Dead (X360)

Call of Duty: World at War (PS3)

Rock Band 2 (Wii)

Nintendo themselves provided data that gave a peek into the top 30 games for December. According to a Nintendo press release, "Nintendo titles filled 20 of the top 30 spots on the best-seller list." There are 13 Nintendo-platform titles in the top 20, which suggests that seven of the games rating 21 to 30 are on the Wii, DS, or GBA.

Nintendo also noted that "more 3rd party units were sold for Wii than any other home consoles in December for the 2nd consecutive month." This is an important claim because the top 10 or top 20 charts don't provide a full picture of sales. Of the 13 Nintendo-platform games that do appear in the top 20, one DS game and three Wii titles come from third party publishers. Four third-party Xbox 360 titles appeared in the top 20 along with the Microsoft-published Gears of War 2. Only one game from the PS3 and one game from the PS2 made the cut, both from third parties.

One last item of interest is the accessories chart, where Nintendo Wii accessories took six of the top 10 spots, including the top three. While this chart is mostly taken up by the three hardware manufacturers, Nyko has made a strong showing with its Charge Station for Wii and the Perfect Shot pistol grip attachment.

December 2008 U.S. Top Ten Wii Software Sales

Wii Play (Wii) – 1.46m

Wii Fit (Wii) – 999k

Mario Kart Wii (Wii) – 878k

Guitar Hero: World Tour (Wii) – 859k*

Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii) – 497k*

Wii Music (Wii) – 4.87k

Link's Crossbow Training (Wii) – 255k-487k**

Call of Duty: World at War (Wii) – 255k-487k**

Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip (Wii) – 255k-487k**

Nerf N-Strike (Wii)

December 2008 U.S. Top Ten DS Software Sales

Mario Kart DS (DS) – 540k

New Super Mario Bros. (DS) – 255k-487k**

Personal Trainer: Cooking (DS) – 255k-487k**

Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force (DS) – 255k-487k**

Kirby Super Star Ultra (DS)

Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia (DS)

Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day (DS)

Mario Party (DS)

Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades (DS)

Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day (DS)

December 2008 U.S. Top Ten GBA Software Sales

Action/Adventure Bundle (GBA)

Yahtzee/Payday/Game of Life (GBA)

Hot Wheels: All Out (GBA)

Risk/Battleship/Clue (GBA)

Uno 52 (GBA)

Disney Princess: Royal Adventure (GBA)

Puppy Luv; Spa & Resort (GBA)

Disney's Enchanted (GBA)

Disney's Little Mermaid: Magic in Two Kingdoms (GBA)

Mousetrap/Operation/Simon (GBA)

December 2008 U.S. Top Ten Accessory Sales

Nunchuk Controller (Wii) (Nintendo)

Wii Remote Controller w/ Jacket (Wii) (Nintendo)

Wii Remote Controller (Wii) (Nintendo)

PlayStation 3 DualShock 3 Wireless Controller (PS3) (Sony)

Charge Station (Wii) (Nyko)

Wheel Grip (Wii) (Nintendo)

Perfect Shot Gun Grip (Wii) (Nyko)

Live 12 Month Gold Card (X360) (Microsoft)

Xbox 360 Wireless Controller (X360) (Microsoft)

Xbox 360 Title (X360) (Microsoft)

*Includes all collector's editions, accessory bundles, etc.

**Sales range estimate based on lower ranking titles with known NPD numbers

December 2008 U.S. Dollar Sales

Hardware – $1.88 billion

Software – $2.75 billion

Accessories – $662 million

Total – $5.29 billion

This report contains information from Wired's Game|Life, Gamasutra, GameDaily, two IGN reports, and Nintendo's official December NPD press release.


GoldenPhoenixJanuary 29, 2009

I am impressed by the CoD: WaW sales, those are really strong, and no doubt money was made on it.

The game I'm disappointed in sales wise is Personal Cooking. This is an amazing tool, and if any of you like to cook or try to make new kinds of foods it is the best deal out there. It has a great interface, and is extremely easy to use.

P.S. Thanks for all the hard work you put into these Kairon.

Thanks for the pro-edit GP.

It's worth noting that CoD:WaW also has some November sales to account for too.

And there is a line of speculation which would put Shaun White Snowboarding for the Wii at around 370,000 sales in some places, but this requires combining some NPD numbers with some numbers that are from other analysts, thus muddying up the entire scene in my opinion.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 29, 2009

I think Lindy needs to foot the bill for NPD numbers now that he is head of the site!

ShyGuyJanuary 29, 2009

I have heard little about the nerf game. Is it worthy of the #10 spot?

KDR_11kJanuary 29, 2009

I agree, that's definitely lacking info. From what I remember about the pre-release coverage it's a lightgun shooter that comes with a shell for the Wiimote that doubles as an actual nerf gun. Even if the game isn't that good it'd be a good value for kids who like nerf guns I suppose.

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