The lights are on
The NPD Group released its findings for the top selling games of the year and for December specifically (digital sales excluded). As usual, no specific sales numbers are provided and all versions of the game across all platforms are pooled together.
Top 10 Games of 2013
1) Grand Theft Auto V2) Call of Duty: Ghosts3) Madden NFL 254) Battlefield 45) Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag6) NBA 2K147) Call of Duty: Black Ops II8) Just Dance 20149) Minecraft (Xbox 360 only)10) Disney Infinity
Top 10 Games of December 2013
1) Call of Duty: Ghosts2) Battlefield 43) Just Dance 20144) Madden NFL 255) NBA 2K146) Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag7) Grand Theft Auto V8) Lego Marvel Super Heroes9) FIFA 1410) Skylanders Swap Force
Despite all of the excitement for new consoles, software sales managed to drop from $1.58 billion in 2012 to $1.31 billion in 2013.
“Part of the reason for the 17% decline in video game software sales was the poor performance of November launches in December 2013," explains The NPD Group’s Liam Callahan. "Specifically, there was a 27% dollar decline for sales of November 2013 launches in December 2013, compared to November 2012 launches in December 2012. Additionally, due to the success of December 2012 hit, Far Cry 3, December 2013 launches were down 85% compared to those games launching in December 2012.”
Callahan says the number one game of the year, Grand Theft Auto V, is "within striking distance of surpassing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as the highest selling game within the Grand Theft Auto franchise.”
Callahan also notes that for the fifth year in a row, the standard 360 version of Call of Duty was the top-selling SKU for December, and if the rankings were on a per-SKU basis instead of all pooled together, Pokémon X & Y and The Last of Us would have made the list.
Our Take:It's no surprise that Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto dominated these lists. What does shock is that the disc version of Minecraft on 360 alone still made the top 10 for the year. It's also interesting to see the rookie Disney Infinity edge out the veteran Skylanders Swap Force in the year-end totals.
Email the author Bryan Vore, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.