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US games market slumps 24% in November - NPD

But Pokemon shines, while NES Classic Edition shifts nearly 200,000 units

Sales of video games, hardware and accessories fell by 24% in the US last month compared with the same period a year before.

In total $1.97bn was generated from games sales (both digital and physical), whereas $2.6bn was the figure posted during November 2015.

Data tracker NPD rightly observes that the fall is down to the absence of major selling blockbusters last month. In November last year, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Fallout 4 and Star Wars Battlefront were released, and all three ended up amongst the biggest selling titles of the year.

The Top Three sellers of November 2016 were headlined by Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which sold fewer units than its predecessor (although remains the No.1 game franchise in the US). Battlefield 1 was at No.2, which was released in October, and Pokémon Sun and Moon, which had a lower selling price than last November's console games, were at No.3 and No.4. All titles outside of the Top Three grew by 12% versus a year ago, so it was the big three titles that drove the decline (Top Three sales for November 2016 were 43% lower than 2015) .

In total, video game software on consoles declined by 18% - down from $1.17bn to $955.2m, while PC game sales fell by 28% from $38.1m to $27.5m.

Hardware sales slumped quite a bit, down 35% versus a year ago (from $1.12bn to $723.8m). The average selling price of PS4 and Xbox One - plus a generally slower sales trend for those machines - were the two major factors behind the declines (despite the arrival of new SKUs). The biggest selling console of the month was the PS4, thanks to the cut price PS4 Slim bundled with Uncharted 4. That bundle alone accounted for 30% of all hardware sales last month.

Interestingly, it was a good month for Nintendo. 3DS sales grew 59% thanks to the new Pokémon Sun and Moon games. In fact, that is the sixth consecutive month of year-on-year growth for 3DS.


Pokémon Sun and Moon were a real runaway success for Nintendo. The games are the fastest selling in the franchise's history, beating Pokémon Black and White by 8%, despite those games having 19 extra days on the market. Overall, more physical 3DS games were sold last month than at any other time in the platform's history (in the US) - 1% more than its previous high in December 2014.

Elsewhere, NES Classic Edition sold 196,000 units - capping off a good month for Nintendo.

A little more resilient last month were video game accessory sales - which declined by 6% versus November 2015 ($277.1m to $259.8m) It's actually quite a strong performance when you consider the collapse in the toys-to-life market - the absence of Disney Infinity, plus declines across the other brands meant that 'interactive toys' were down 49% year-on-year in November. LEGO Dimensions is now the market leader in the segment with a 38% revenue share last month.

Gamepad sales declined, although Microsoft's Elite Controller spiked 46 percent. 

Here are the Top Ten Sellers of the month, ranked by dollar sales and including physical and full game downloads. Pokémon Sun and Moon, and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim do not include digital sales.

Position Title
1 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
2 Battlefield 1
3 Pokémon Sun
4 Pokémon Moon
5 Titanfall 2
6 NBA 2K17
7 Madden NFL17
8 Watch Dogs 2
9 Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
10 FIFA 17