NPD: 22 percent market decline in December 2012

Total video game sales plunged in North America; Wii launch stronger than Wii U's

Total video game sales in North America fell 22 percent in December 2012, compared with figures in 2011.


Total industry sales came in at $3.21 billion in December 2012 compared with $3.10 billion in December 2011. Hardware fell 20 percent, while software and accessories fell 26 percent and 14 percent respectively.

These figures exclude revenue from digital, though NPD estimates a total $4.1 billion spend during December 2012 with digital sales included.

According to NPD analyst Liam Callahan, the market is still more lucrative than it was during the last generation of consoles. "As a testament to how much the retail market has grown, overall physical dollar sales in December 2012 are up 10% when compared to December 2005."

Regarding software, Callahan blames the retail decline to a reduction in titles released across all platforms, though he notes that those released "generated 8 percent more units per SKU (stock-keeping unit) and 11 percent more dollars per SKU."

Mirroring a pattern identified in December, The Wii U sold less in its launch month than the Wii did in December 2006, though it generated 3 percent more dollar sales due to its higher price. Overall dollar sales for the year increased 11 percent.

As previously reported, Xbox 360 remains the top selling console in North America, selling 1.4 million units in December.