Sunday, December 10, 2006

The November NPD

The November NPD results was released last Thursday but I didn’t get a chance to make a post about it. Here are the numbers (US sales data only) gathered from official published sources.

  1. Nintendo DS - 918K
  2. PlayStation 2 - 664K
  3. Game Boy Advance - 641K
  4. Xbox 360 - 511K
  5. Nintendo Wii - 476K
  6. PSP - 412k
  7. PlayStation 3 - 197K

The Wii and PS3 Numbers were not big surprises as Nintendo has already noted it had shipped 600,000 Wii units to North America in November, and Electronic Arts mentioned that Sony managed to only sell/ship 200,000 PS3s in the same time frame.

The real star of the month was the Nintendo DS. This was a portable that many expected would have been demolished by the technologically superior PSP and for a time it looked like it was going to happen. In stark contrast to 2006, 2005 was when the DS and the PSP were engaged in a neck and neck race with the PSP outselling the DS most months by a hair (5k-20k units), although by that time, the DS was already outselling the PSP handily and Japan.

I can’t stress this enough, the Nintendo DS is a monster of a gaming machine. It’s transcended the ghettos of portables (think of GameBoy and most hardcore games think of the handful of AAA Nintendo franchise titles amidst a sea of 3rd party shovelware.). Although western developers may still adhere to this view and thus put out titles accordingly, the quality and quantity of titles coming from Japanese 3rd parties are absolutely amazing. Square-Enix’s big titles not withstanding, there’s a wealth of games ranging from RPGs, simulations, to classic point and click adventures. Even EA has a Sim City DS in the works (so far announced for Japan only).

I honestly can’t say I’ve enjoyed a gaming platform as thoroughly as I have with my DS since the days of the Super NES. I can jump for the brain teasers of a Brain Training game to the depths of a fantastical world of Final Fantasy in a matter of minutes and Animal Crossing: Wild World has become a kind of companion to me. I boot it up most nights for 20-30 minutes, to water my plants, pick my orchard and manage my virtual town. I go on-line occasionally to receive mail from the developers. This modest feature further enhances the connection the game has with the rest of the Nintendo universe – for example when the Wii launched, Nintendo sent out virtual mail packages to Animal Crossing residents announcing the launch of Zelda and Wii sports and containing either the Master Sword or Bowling pins (Wii sports), I got the bowling pins.

So there you have it. DS won November, but if you want to tally it by manufacturer, it is worth nothing that Nintendo romped everyone. DS + GBA + Wii sold over 2 million hardware units of the overall 3.8 million hardware units sold in the month. Oh and the GameCube sold 70k units if you’re still keeping track.

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