The NPD Group's November US retail game sales were glum enough on the surface, but an analyst note this morning provided some deeper insight into the disappointing figures.
In a note to investors, Longbow Research's James Hardiman shed some additional light on the numbers, calling specific attention to the performance of Wii U software sales. While the original Wii saw two games sold for every console in its opening month on shelves in 2006, the Wii U posted a comparatively paltry 1.2 games sold per system. Hardiman chalked that up to either the inclusion of NintendoLand in Wii U Deluxe bundles providing a compelling enough experience that players didn't feel the need for another game, or the higher prices for the Wii U ($299 for the Basic system, $349 for the Deluxe) left consumers without the spare funds for software.
The analyst also noted a significant drop in Activision's flagship shooter series. Call of Duty: Black Ops II sold around 7.4 million copies during November, a decline of 17 percent from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's opening month sales last November. That may sound odd in light of Activision announcing Black Ops II actually reached the $1 billion sales mark a day quicker than its predecessor, but Hardiman noted that Modern Warfare 3 launched earlier in the month than its successor.
"We do not believe that Activision did itself any favors by putting out a press release on Wednesday touting that Black Ops II had crossed $1 billion in just 15 days, faster than the 16 days required for Modern Warfare 3 to reach the $1 billion mark," Hardiman said. "What management did not mention is the fact that with an earlier release date, Modern Warfare 3 was able to reach $1 billion a day before Thanksgiving, whereas Black Ops II was not able to get there until after Cyber Monday."