The videogame industry expected November to be a good month, but it wound up being a record breaker.
Nearly every sector of the games biz saw sales surge last month, driven mostly by the blockbuster launch of Activision Blizzard’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops” and the introduction of Microsoft’s motion-sensing accessory, Kinect.
Hardware, games and accessory sales generated $2.99 billion in November, up 8% over the same period last year — $30 million more than the previous record November in 2008, according to research firm NPD. Overall, the positive numbers helped shave off some of the year’s losses, with the biz now off just 5% with a haul of more than $14 billion.
“Black Ops” was such a big hit that it accounted for 25% of all videogame software sales, NPD said. Game sold 8.4 million units in the U.S. And after a month, the game is already the seventh bestselling title of all time.
Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood” and “Just Dance 2,” Electronic Arts’ “Madden NFL 11” and Microsoft’s “Fable III” round out the top five games of November on all platforms.
The launch of “Just Dance 2” and “Dance Central” helped revive the music and dance category, which was up 38%.
On the hardware front, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console saw sales increase 68%, with the uptick attributed mostly to the launch of Kinect. Company sold 1.37 million Xboxes and 2.5 million Kinects in the last month.
The sales gave Microsoft its sixth straight victory in the console wars between rivals Sony and its PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s aging Wii. The company is also able to boast that 40% of all videogame coin spent during the month was for Microsoft hardware, software or accessories, NPD said.
The full year should wind up at between $18.8 billion to $19.6 billion, should sales remain just as strong during the holiday shopping season. That would put it flat with last year.