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Gamers spent $834.7 million at retail in January, and this is up 9 percent from 2012’s $766 million — except the comparison isn’t quite fair. That’s $205 million in hardware, $373 million in software, and $257 million in accessories, according to The NPD Group’s data.

Each month, financial data firm The NPD Group releases its tracking numbers for video game hardware and software at retail. It doesn’t look at digital sales, but it’s a good measuring stick for what is selling and what isn’t. The January data tracks sales from Dec. 30 through Feb. 2. That’s a five-week tracking period, so any comparison to January 2012 (which only had four weeks) is like comparing apples to far fewer apples.

“Overall retail video game sales  — hardware, software, and accessories — would be down 13 percent, instead of up 9 percent, if sales were normalized to account for the five-week January,” analyst Liam Callahan of The NPD Group said.

We’ll examine how the consoles sold, but first, let’s recap software sales for January.


Here’s the best-selling games from January:

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
  2. Far Cry 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  3. Just Dance 4 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Wii)
  4. NBA 2K13 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Wii, PSP, PC)
  5. Madden NFL 13 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Vita, Wii)
  6. DmC: Devil May Cry (Xbox 360, PS3)
  7. Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
  8. Assassin’s Creed III (Xbox 360, Ps3, Wii U, PC)
  9. Skylanders: Giants (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, Wii)
  10. FIFA Soccer 13 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Vita, 3DS, PSP, Wii)
  11. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White With (PS3)

“Software dollar trends were down 19 percent from January 2012,” said Callahan. “Far Cry 3 ranked second highest in terms of unit sales and marked the first time since January 2002 with Final Fantasy X that a December launch has ranked second in the following January.”

The list doesn’t look too different from December 2012 except for DmC: Devil May Cry and Ni No Kuni. Reports suggested that DmC wasn’t selling well, but Capcom can’t be too disappointed with its placement on this list. It did far better than role-playing game Ni No Kuni, which failed to crack the top 10.


Microsoft had another huge month. The Xbox 360 outsold the other home consoles, including the Wii U, for the 25th month in a row.

Microsoft announced that the Xbox 360 sold 281,000 units. Nintendo and Sony have yet to announce their specific sales figures.

“We feel very good about where we sit competitively compared to the next console down the food chain,” Microsoft product manager David Dennis told GamesBeat.

Nintendo only released the Wii U three months ago, but the system has yet to outsell Microsoft’s machine.

“When taking into account the five-week month of January 2013, normalized sales of hardware were down 17 percent,” said Callahan.

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