Originally published on Trevor Trove on December 10, 2015
As a nerdy, analytical video games enthusiast, some of my (weirdly) favorite days every month are the days when PlayStation reveals their monthly charts of which games sold best on the PlayStation Network and when the NPD Group releases the monthly list of top-selling physical copies of games. Admittedly, the NPD Group numbers seem to be slightly less relevant every month as they don’t count hardware bundles or, more notably, the ever-growing number of digital sales. Still, these two reports tend to be our best tools for analyzing sales in the industry. So imagine my surprise when the PlayStation blog and NPD figures were revealed on the same day.
PlayStation 4 returns to the top of the pack in hardware sales after slipping in October to the Xbox One and the power of Halo 5. With regards to software, the list is as follows:
- Call of Duty: Black Ops III (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC) – released Nov. 6
- Fallout 4 (PS4, XBO, PC) – released Nov. 10
- Star Wars Battlefront (PS4, XBO, PC) – released Nov. 17
- Madden NFL 16 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3) – was #2 in Sept, #4 in Oct
- NBA 2K16 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3) – was #1 in Sept, #2 in Oct
- FIFA 16 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3) – was #4 in Sept, #6 in Oct
- Need for Speed 2015 (PS4, XBO) – released Nov. 3
- Halo 5: Guardians (XBO) – was #1 in Oct
- Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (PS4, XBO, PC) – was #3 in Oct
- Just Dance 2016 (Wii, NWU, 360, XBO, PS4, PS3) – released Oct. 23
So here’s my analysis on those numbers:
- Right out the gate, the critically-acclaimed Rise of the Tomb Raider didn’t crack the top ten as an Xbox One/Xbox 360 exclusive, even falling behind Just Dance 2016. That’s gonna be one of the big takeaways from all the big sites reporting on these numbers this month. I would imagine that if Rise of the Tomb Raider Xbox Bundlesand digital sales were factored in, surely they’d have at least beaten Just Dance. But since Xbox doesn’t report their biggest digital sellers, Tomb Raider is gonna be left out in the cold until November 2016, when a PlayStation 4 Game of the Year edition might give it a second chance to hit the charts.
- The power of Call of Duty stands strong. Every year, people say, “This is the year they falter,” and every year, Activision laughs all the way to the bank. The NPD Group reports that these physical copies sold best on Xbox One but I imagine, as above, that the PS4 Bundles and digital sales probably led to the game selling best on PlayStation.
- As these sales don’t include digital the 1 million plus players who bought Fallout 4 on Steam aren’t included in here.
- Curious if Star Wars Battlefront had launched alongside Fallout 4 if it would have taken the number 2 slot. As it stands, I imagine it’ll outsell Fallout 4 this month with all of the excitement around the movie. Could even go so far as to take the top spot in December.
- The sports trinity of Madden, NBA 2K, and FIFA remain healthy on the chart in their third month. As a gamer that doesn’t really play sports games all that much, this is a reminder of just how well those annual series sell.
- I remember Need for Speed 2015, another series I don’t follow too closely, launching with minimal fanfare and poor critical response so I was a little surprised to see it on the list but that also goes to the idea that racing is another genre that sells well even if it’s not covered all that much in games media.
- Halo 5: Guardians and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate hold on this month moving from top 3 in October to bottom 3 in November.
- And as mentioned above, Just Dance 2016, which didn’t chart last month when it launched, rounds out the top 10, having sold best on Wii! This is the epitome of the family game sold on the shelves at Walmart. Ubisoft might get some funny looks for continuing to develop this series for the last generation systems but this shows that they have little reason not to do so.
- Some of the PlayStation Network charts sync up with the NPD numbers, with Call of Duty, Fallout, and Battlefront again taking the top three spots on PS4.
- PSN Sales may have played a role in many of the other titles in the PS4 top 20: The Order: 1886, Wolfenstein: The New Order, and Battlefield 4 all crack the top 10.
- As for the sports trio, FIFA 16 comes in at 11 on the PS4 and 3 on the PS3, Madden NFL 16 barely makes the cut at number 20 on the PS4 (but doesn’t chart on PS3), and NBA 2K16 doesn’t make either list digitally.
- While Minecraft is nowhere to be found on PS4, the Episode 1 of the Telltale game comes in at number 2 on PS3, ahead of the core game at number 6. Episodes 2 and 3 of the Telltale series place 6th and 8th, respectively as PS3 Add-ons and the Story Mode Season Pass comes in at 9. And Minecraft still manages to be the 5th best-selling Vita title digitally for November.
- Lastly, perennial PS Classic Final Fantasy VII was number 5 on that list. I’m curious how high it will chart on the PS4 list for December as the version with Trophy support finally launched at PlayStation Experience.