December is one of the busiest months for gaming… for obvious reasons. The holiday season pushes game sales way up, and, of course, it doesn’t hurt that most companies wait to release their newest products right before the busiest shopping time of the year. To that end, the NPD Group, a company devoted to studying marketing and retail, released their December sales numbers, and it’s basically business as usual.
All numbers on this chart are for units sold in the United States, and include all platforms – television and handheld.
December 2006 Sales
Let’s take a look at the top 5. Madden NFL ’07 sitting in the number 1 spot comes as no surprise to me, or anyone else I’d imagine, since it’s the heart of football season and America loves the NFL… and war, which brings us to the 2nd spot. If there’s one thing we can say as an industry, it’s this: we sure like making World War II games. Then again, as long as the public keeps buying them, who are we to judge? Call of Duty 3 selling 1.1 million units is proof of that.
Number 3 would come as more of a surprise if it weren’t for combined console sales and if the word Zelda didn’t appear in the name, as it is, however, Twilight Princess coming in at at least 3rd is a given. 4th place is proof positive of the “Cabela Effect,” named for the Cabela’s Big Game Hunter series to indicate a game that sells off of name recognition to a casual gaming audience. Need For Speed: Carbon, another EA game, took 5th place.
A few things to note from the December sales is the lack of a PS3 exclusive title, which isn’t surprising due to supply constraints and unit pricing, while Nintendo and Microsoft are both included. We should see that problem drop off as more systems and newer games make their way into the market. Nintendo, however, may see reduced chart time as we continue through the winter of 2007 as there isn’t much on the radar from them until March. Microsoft is in a similar boat with the exception of the Halo 3 beta pack-in with Crackdown, due out this February.