Elder Scrolls: SkyrimLast month saw the biggest launch ever in the video game industry, but flat sales of hardware kept things about on par with last year saleswise.
All totaled, the gaming industry took in $3 billion in November, roughly $10,000 more than last year, according to the NPD Group. But the overall picture was rosy for the industry — as game sales were much higher than predicted.
Software sales are the most closely watched field in the gaming space. Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities was expecting just a 3 percent gain over November 2011, but the field actually jumped 15 percent — thanks to strong performances from not only Modern Combat 3, but also from Bethesda Softworks's fantasy-action role playing game Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and EA's Call Of Duty rival Battlefield 3.
First month sales of Modern Warfare 3 are currently tracking about 7 percent ahead of last year's Call of Duty: Black Ops. That's impressive, given how well Black Ops did, but not exactly shocking.
The real surprise of the month is Skyrim, which took the number two sales slot — which many people expected Battlefield 3 to claim.
[ Photos: Elder Scrolls Skyrim Screenshots ]
"In one month, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is just about half a million units shy of matching Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in lifetime sales," said NPD analyst Anita Frasier. "Its first month performance was a five-fold increase over Oblivion's first month sales. The game garnered outstanding review scores."
The reason the industry as a whole was flat was because of the accessories category, which fell 34 percent. Kinect debuted in November 2011 and was included in that field, so a decline was largely expected. Hardware sales were also down 9 percent.
The month's top 10 selling games were:
|1||Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3||Activision Blizzard|
|2||Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim||Bethesda Softworks|
|3||Battlefield 3||Electronic Arts|
|4||Assassin's Creed: Revelations||Ubisoft|
|5||Just Dance 3||Ubisoft|
|6||Madden NFL 12||Electronic Arts|
|7||Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception||Sony|
|8||Saints Row: The Third||THQ|
|9||The Legend of Zelda: SkywardSword||Nintendo|
|10||Batman: Arkham City||Warner Bros. Interactive|