Tuesday 27th January 2015,

December 2012 NPD Report: Call of Duty is Popular

Nick January 11, 2013 News, NPD No Comments

The December NPD report is known among armchair analysts to be “The Big One.” Besides knowing what games ended up on the most Christmas lists last year, last month’s report also tells us how Nintendo’s Wii U did in its first holiday in stores, and we also know the overall best-selling (physical retail) games of 2012.


  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  2. Just Dance 4
  3. Halo 4
  4. Assassin’s Creed III
  5. Madden NFL 13
  6. Far Cry 3
  7. NBA 2k13
  8. Skylanders Giants
  9. New Super Mario Bros 2
  10. Fifa Soccer 13

The contents of this list probably won’t surprise anybody. It’s basically a compilation of all the other top-of-the-chart launches from this year.

A few things to note: there are no Wii U exclusive titles on the top 10, even though New Super Mario Brothers 2 for the 3DS was able to slip in at number 9 (that’s a little preview for the hardware sales section below).

Far Cry 3 also charted lower than expected at number 6. It was agreed before Far Cry‘s launch that early December is a great time to ship your game if you want to get lost in the shuffle, and it looks like that is exactly what happened. However, anecdotally, Far Cry 3 was the top seller on Steam for the majority of last month, so I can assume that it would have charted a bit higher if those numbers were included.

Reggie Wii U Announcement


  1. Xbox 360 (1.4 million)
  2. Nintendo 3DS (1.25 million)
  3. Nintendo Wii (475k)
  4. Nintendo DS (470k)
  5. Wii U (460k)

Again, Sony is not forthcoming when it comes to hardware sales numbers, but it’s a safe bet that the PlayStation 3 is at number 3, somewhere around 700k units (Microsoft claims the 360 numbers are more than double the second place home console) and that the Vita is below the Wii U at the bottom of the list.

Now, let’s talk about the Wii U’s first holiday. Nintendo’s latest console sold almost 200k less units than the Wii during its launch holiday and, unlike its predecessor, the Wii U was widely available at physical retailers and online. Using this dismal holiday as proof that Nintendo is doomed is ridiculous. A disappointment? Absolutely.

This was Nintendo’s year to hog the spotlight and reap the benefits of launching a new console after almost a decade with no new hardware. And yet, they still got outsold by their competitors. Nintendo will really have to kick things into gear before this coming holiday season, when we are expecting to see new consoles from Microsoft and Sony enter the race.

Finally — BONUS ROUND! — here are the top selling physical retail games of 2012:

Borderlands 2 Feature Image

Top Sellers (physical retail only) of 2012

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  2. Madden NFL 13
  3. Halo 4
  4. Assassin’s Creed III
  5. Just Dance 4
  6. NBA 2k13
  7. Borderlands 2
  8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  9. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
  10. Fifa Soccer 13

Not a lot of surprises here, though it’s interesting to see how, besides Borderlands 2 and Lego Batman 2, the games making up this list and the December list are basically the same.

Borderlands 2 and Assassin’s Creed III were both huge successes this year for their respective developers, with more than 100% sales growth over the previous game in both series. While Assassin’s Creed has been a yearly inevitability since 2009, I’ll be interested to see where Gearbox goes with Borderlands with the substantial increase in sales and exposure.

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About The Author

Hi! I'm the news editor for darkstation. You can reach me through twitter @nkummert, or read more of my writings at nickkummert.com.