Videogame sales down 11% in November

Decline comes despite big hit franchise entries

The videogame industry suffered another sales slump in November despite the release of high-profile installments in the “Call of Duty,” “Halo” and “Assassin’s Creed” franchises.

Overall sales were down 11% to $2.55 billion during the month, with new game software off 11% to $1.4 billion and hardware sales down 13% to $839 million, according to NPD Group.

Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” Microsoft’s “Halo 4,” Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed III” and “Just Dance 4” and Electronic Arts’ “Madden NFL ’13” were the top five titles for publishers in November. NPD no longer provides units sales for games.

Looking for a bright spot, however, the org said videogame software unit declines were tied with August for the smallest year-over-year declines this year. NPD analyst Liam Callahan also pointed out that there were 21% fewer titles released during the frame.

While roughly 50% of revenue in the month was generated from the sale of new software, hardware and accessories, another $207 million was earned from used game sales and rentals, while digital downloads, subscriptions and mobile app revenue generated another $410 million.

With the major videogame consoles readying to introduce new devices in the coming year — Nintendo already has its Wii U — “it’s important to compare this month’s results to November 2005, which was the last time the industry began to transition between console generations with the launch of a new platform,” Callahan said. November’s results are nearly twice as big as they were in 2005.

On the hardware front, Nintendo’s launch of the Wii U helped the company increase sales revenue by 21% compared to the launch of the Wii in 2006. But the new console’s pricetag is 35% higher.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 led overall hardware platform sales for the 16th consecutive month. Sony’s PS Vita handheld enjoyed its second highest month of sales on a unit basis since launch. The Nintendo DS was the only platform to increase in hardware unit sales over November 2011, NPD said.

Activision’s “Skylanders” franchise saw sales boosted by 250% over last November with the release of new toys through “Skylanders Giants.”

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