NPD Hardware Figures Catchup

Thanks to the NPD Group’s decision back in September to stop fanning the flames with data, unit sales figures for the consoles in the U.S. are harder to come by.  Fortunately I am not the only one still addicted to figures.  The number-hounds over at NeoGAF scour the Internet for the figures which invariably get revealed eventually.

It can be when one of the console manufacturers wants to brag about their numbers or an analyst wants to promote their latest clever insight into our buying habits.  Here then courtesy of those investigative hounds are the numbers for October and November.


DS – 342k (-25% vs. October 2009)
360 – 325k (+30%)
PS3 – 250k (-22%)
Wii – 232k (-54%)
PSP – 75k (-57%)

October was notable for being the month in which the 360 overtook the Wii to become the best-selling home console in the U.S. during 2010, with total unit sales of 3.53 million compared to the Wii’s 3.43m.  The DS remained out in front overall with its 4.55m sales.

This was another slow month for hardware sales overall with revenue down 26% on October 2009 and actual unit sales down 30%.  Software sales were a little better gaining a modest 6% in value, but NPD Analyst Anita Fraser cautioned that as they were only reporting retail boxed sales that likely only covered around 70% of the total once digital sales are taken into account.

The top-selling game in was NBA 2K11, followed by Fallout: New Vegas and then Medal of Honor.  In fourth place was the first console exclusive title, Fable III and rounding out the top five was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II.

That game kept fellow sci-fi title Halo: Reach down in sixth.  The only Nintendo-exclusive title to make the top ten was Just Dance 2 in seventh.  The last three places all went to annual franchises, those being respectively FIFA 11, Madden NFL 11 and WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011.


DS – 1.5m (-12% vs. November 2009)
360 – 1.37m (+67%)
Wii – 1.27m (+1%)
PS3 – 530k (-25%)

To celebrate taking the crown of best-selling home console in October, the 360 chose to have its biggest month ever.  In fact everyone but Sony had a good month, something that is even more apparent on the graph below.  The DS once more took overall top-spot with the majority of its sales being of the new special edition red Mario DSi XL.

After Bloomberg revealed Sony’s PS3 sales were down 25% year-on-year, Sony pointed out in a statement saying that year-to-date unit sales were still up 5%.  That’s helpful as it gives us another figure we can contrast against the 360 as Microsoft’s console is up 42% in year-to-date unit sales.

While we’re talking about how well the 360 is doing following the launch of it’s living room surveillance add-on, evidence that Skynet may be branded with a green ‘X’ is growing*.  You’ll almost certainly be familiar with Skynet’s flying hunter-killer robots.  Well Kinect is now giving flying drones the eyes needed to navigate their environment and contemplate the objects they encounter.  With it’s ground-based cousins already able to navigate around teeny-tiny traffic cones there will be no escape for us.  In 2027 will the last thing you see be your own face reflected in Kinect’s shiny black visage?

But back to the present or at any rate the recent past and November’s software chart.  Call of Duty: Black Ops easily made it to number one with 8.4m sales, the best first month for a game ever.  Gamasutra report that the 360 version accounted for 4.9m of those, while the PS3 version scored 3.1m, a ratio that corresponds closely to the installed bases of the two consoles, 23.6m 360s versus “just over” 14m PS3s.

Quietly disposing of other challengers with a blade between the floating ribs was Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood which made it to number two.  Obviously when it came to the fight for top-spot it was the one who brought a knife to a gunfight.

The first of three Wii-exclusives in the top ten is up next with Just Dance 2 in third.  That’s followed by Madden NFL 11 and Fable IIIDonkey Kong Country Returns in sixth place is the spike strip that has stopped Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (and its 417k sales) from climbing any further than seventh.

Clearly the driving in Hot Pursuit was more than Gran Turismo 5‘s A.I. could handle** as we find that down in eighth just ahead of ‘speedy’ challengers dribbling a ball down a basketball court in NBA 2K11 or standing around on a balance board waiting for Wii Fit Plus to tell them they ate too much Thanksgiving turkey.

Once we have December’s numbers I’ll be back to let you know which console manufacturer had a Merry Christmas in North America.

*No it isn’t.  Other systems have been doing this for years.  It’s just as likely the Google will re-brand itself Skynet and kill us all using its fleet of robot vehicles.
**Yes, I know Sony’s numbers as of the 6th December are that 1.25m copies of GT5 have sold in North America.



  1. So in America, PS Move launches & PS3 sales dip 22% in launch month then 25% the month after, whilst Kinect launches & 360 sales grow 67%. Hell even the Wii grew 1% and they’ve not had a fanfare launch at all and they were presumably happy with last year’s sales.

    Baffling figures are baffling.

    • Remember the Wii also saw the red Mario edition release, so its sales like the DS were probably spurred by that.

      As for Move vs. Kinect, MS’s offering is selling in impressive numbers. Perhaps because it is something that hasn’t been done before. I wonder how many multi-console households really want to buy another set of wagglesticks when they’ve already got several sets for their Wii?

      Okay, so I’ve got two sets of Move/Navi sticks on top of my three Wiimote/Nunchuck sets and I think you’ve said before you’ve got three Moves, but we must be way out on the far reaches of the bell curve.

      • Obviously as it’s a comparison to previous years the PS3 really spiked high last year with the slim launch & titles like Uncharted 2, but the 360 kept pace with the PS3 last year having almost identical sales and somehow they’ve sold 67% ON TOP of that, that really is impressive

    • I’m surprised by the actual dip compared to everyone else as well, especially considering it followed the release of a new peripheral. I never expected it to do as well as Kinect, but I thought it would have helped sales along somewhat!

  2. I remember all the “experts” saying the there was not room in the market for 3 home consoles. I think it is good that Sony sticks with it even though they are bringing up the rear. Nothing sucks more than trying to find software for a dead system.

  3. That is shocking , I mean literally PS2 and PSP both hitting rock bottom despite good PS3 sales.

  4. Just wait till christmas ;)

  5. Surprising figures for me

  6. I guess the huge Kinect promotion, the new-ish slim console and the cheaper 4gb option have all helped.

  7. Strange, very strange. The PS3 and the 360 figures are most shocking. I wonder how the figures are going to look in a months times. GT5, Move and Kinect are going to be playing some big roles this Christmas.

  8. Woah.
    Well done Microsoft.

  9. Blops: “Gamasutra report that the 360 version accounted for 4.9m of those, while the PS3 version scored 3.1m, a ratio that corresponds closely to the installed bases of the two consoles, 23.6m 360s versus “just over” 14m PS3s.”

    Proving what I said all along that it is not a console seller. And neither is GT5. Reason: the hardcore user install base is already at saturation. I would be highly surprised if GT5 caused a spike in sales, if there is any improvement it will merely be due to Xmas.

    • Yet there clearly was a strong correlation between GT5’s release in Japan and a sharp spike in PS3 sales. Implicating that GT5 is a system seller over there.

      • Ah well I’ll have to accept that as I haven’t seen the figures. Doesn’t seem to be the case outside Japan tho.

      • I think you’re both spot on. Seems that even the massive franchises barely shift extra units but Japan seems to have always bucked this global trend. They’re utterly obsessive about their possessions and it seems that such a great Japanese title on a Japanese produced console is just too much to resist.

      • you get about 7 or 8 games a year causing sales spikes in japan though don’t you?

  10. Our US cousin aren’t too bright are they.

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