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November is no savior for video game sales

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Black Friday and the launch of the Wii U weren't enough to stop the video game industry's ongoing slide at physical retail stores. For the twelfth month in a row, sales were lower than a year ago.

That said, the numbers were anything but small.

Brick-and-mortar retail sales of video game software were down 11 percent to $1.42 billion, according to The NPD Group. Overall sales, which factor in hardware and accessories, were also down 11 percent to $2.55 billion.

Hardware sales were also lower, despite the launch of the Wii U. Ongoing softness in Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sales, which were down significantly from November 2011, created a gap the excitement surrounding the new console couldn't clear.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II, not surprisingly, was the month's biggest game, followed by Halo 4 and Assassin's Creed III. (Activision recently reported Black Ops II sales have already topped $1 billion.)

The 11 percent drop in software sales was noticeably more than analysts were expecting. Wedbush's Michael Pachter had predicted just a 2 percent decline.

Still, he remains optimistic that a rebound at physical retail stores isn't too far down the road.

"We believe there is finally light at the end of this almost four-year tunnel of declining video game sales," he wrote in a note to investors before the numbers were released. "It is clear that good games continue to sell well, and November saw successful launches of Assassin's Creed III, Halo 4 and Call of Duty Black Ops 2. We expect November, December and January software sales to all come in close to flat, with slightly negative sales likely. We expect results to rebound into sharply positive territory in February, when Take-Two releases BioShock Infinite, and we don't think that results will revert to double-digit negative sales growth again in 2013."

As for November, here's a look at the month's Top 10 games:

Rank

Title Publisher
1 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Activision Blizzard
2 Halo 4 (360)** Microsoft
3 Assassin's Creed III Ubisoft
4 Just Dance 4 Ubisoft
5 Madden NFL 13 Electronic Arts
6 Skylander Giants Activision Blizzard
7 Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012 Electronic Arts
8 NBA 2K13 Take 2 Interactive
9 WWE 13 THQ
10 FIFA Soccer 13 Electronic Arts

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