If you found an Xbox 360 waiting underneath the tree last month, you're not the only one. Figures released this week by market research
organization NPD Group indicate December was the system's biggest month ever.
In fact, Microsoft sold so many, they're apparently running out. The
manufacturer was forced to dip into hardware reserves allocated for
January and February shipments to meet the holiday-season demand, and
even had to resort to air-freighting deliveries to sold-out retailers.
Resulting shortages could persist all the way into February, a Microsoft
spokesman told Bloomberg this week.
The stellar December numbers cap off a banner year for the Xbox 360. It's
the only console to have grown its numbers in 2010, upping sales by an
impressive 42%. And thanks in no small part to the success of its new
Kinect motion control system, the 360 also earned the most money at
retail: consumers spent $6.2 billion on Xbox consoles, accessories, and
games over the year.
Even so, the 360 still wasn't the top-selling console in December; that
honor was reserved, once again, for the Nintendo Wii. But we doubt its
performance is impressing Nintendo brass: its sales were actually down
32% on last December, and even the ever-reliable DS sagged 24%
And the year's best-selling game? Surprising absolutely nobody, it was
Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops (Buy | Search), which shifted a staggering 12
million copies in the U.S. alone between its November release and the
end of the year. It sold twice as many copies as 2010's second-placed
game, EA's Madden NFL 11 (Buy | Search).