Do not, I repeat do not bet against Nintendo. The family-friendly Japanese game-maker managed to sell an astonishing 2.04 million Wii units in November, up from 981,000 last year. Wedbush Morgan predicted earlier this week that the Wii would sell around 1.4 million, a hugely respectable number in its own right, but over 2 million counts as remarkable. Remarkable enough to even beat the formerly chart-dominating Nintendo DS, which itself still sold 1.57 million units.
November was kind to nearly everyone, pulling industry revenue up 10 points over last year for a performance NPD's Anita Frazier calls "blistering." NPD's been tenacious about $22 billion as the magic overall record-breaking number for 2008, and November's data falls right in line with that figure.
The "recession proof" industry? And then some.
"One reason for the continued strength of the industry compared to other forms of entertainment comes from a number of sources," said Frazier. "Certainly, the expanded audience for gaming due to the availability of a wider variety of compelling content is a strong contributor."
2.04m - Wii
1.57m - Nintendo DS
836k - Xbox 360
421k - PSP
378k - PlayStation 3
206k - PlayStation 2
Nintendo finally got the lead out and fixed its supply issues, or if you're slightly more cynical, decided the dollar was worth enough to open the stateside floodgates this holiday season. That the Wii beat the DS in unit sales is almost equally flooring.
According to Microsoft, the Xbox 360 walloped Sony 3-to-1 in console sales during the Black Friday weekend and finished November with a 2-to-1 sales advantage over the PS3. Citing internal data, Microsoft says the Xbox 360 was the fastest growing console in Europe during November, with sales up 124 percent year-over-year, versus 43 percent for Wii and three percent for PS3.
1.56m - Gears of War 2 (360)
1.41m - Call of Duty: World at War (360)
796k - Wii Play (Wii)
697k - Wii Fit (Wii)
637k - Mario Kart (Wii)
597k - Call of Duty: World at War (PS3)
475k - Guitar Hero: World Tour (Wii)
410k - Left 4 Dead (360)
385k - Resistance 2 (PS3)
297k - Wii Music (Wii)
Game sales were up 11 points year-over-year, and up 31 percent year-to-date. Microsoft dominated in per unit sales and held three top 10 slots, while Nintendo moved the usual suspects. Wii Music (which debuted in mid-October) also managed to sneak onto the list. NPD's Frazier attributes that game's comeback to Nintendo's marketing prowess.
What's missing from this list? November PC game chart toppers like World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, which NPD says sold 1.4 million copies in November (its inaugural month).
And here we thought the economy was nosediving.