updated 06:45 pm EST, Fri December 9, 2011
NPD charts huge device sales, flat cash in Nov '11
New NPD data has shown runaway gaming hardware sales in November that could signal a minor revival in the face of iOS gaming. Nintendo saw a resurgence as it moved 795,000 3DS units in the US during the month, or about double what it has in recent months. It still managed to sell 350,000 DSi systems, leading it to about 1.15 million handheld gaming systems in one month.
In TV consoles, Microsoft also had its best month ever and set a recent record. At 1.7 million Xbox 360s sold, it not only had a comfortable lead but had the widest gap ever between first and second places since December 2008. The runner up, the Nintendo Wii, a healthy but much smaller 860,000 systems. Sony's PS3 and PSP numbers aren't yet known.
The rise was somewhat offset by price cuts on the TV consoles involved, which led to flat revenue versus a year ago.
Both Microsoft and Nintendo were helped by game selection. All but two of the games in the top 10 were available on the Xbox 360 and, in the cases of games like Skyrim or chart-topper Modern Warfare 3, often saw the Xbox as the defining platform. Nintendo, meanwhile, had the advantage of Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Only the Zelda title appeared in the top ten, but both are considered system sellers.
The strong 3DS take-up could help breathe life into Nintendo after it posted a $923 million half-year loss. Along with cooling demand for the Wii, Nintendo has seen iOS and Android cut into revenue for mobile gaming to the point where it has visibly hurt DS and 3DS numbers. Nintendo has based most of its recovery strategy on a price-cut 3DS as well as producing games it doesn't believe can be matched on a touch-only device from Apple or an Android supporter, such as both the new Super Mario game as well as Mario Kart 7 and the future Luigi's Mansion 2.