Black Ops II Leads Slumping Game Sales in the U.S.

The video game industry industry declined 22 percent in December, dropping from $4.1 billion in retail sales in 2011 to $3.21 billion in 2012, according to the latest data published by the NPD Group. Software sales were hit the hardest, dropping 27 percent because of fewer releases.

"A major culprit in the decline in retail sales in 2012 was the lack of new releases with 29 percent less SKUs across consoles, portables, and PCs," analyst Liam Callahan said, according to Gamasutra. "However, the SKUs that were released generated 8 percent more units per SKU and 11 percent more dollars per SKU."

That last statement should be encouraging to game developers and publishers, though it's unclear why there were so many more game releases in 2011 compared to 2012.

Black Ops 2

The best selling game in December 2012 was Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which managed to hold onto the top spot for a second consecutive month. Even more impressive is that this is the fourth consecutive year a Call of Duty game ranked No. 1. Here's a look at the top 10 selling games in the month of December:
  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
  2. Just Dance 4 (Wii, 360, Wii U, PS3)
  3. Halo 4 (360)
  4. Assassin's Creed III (360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
  5. Madden NFL 13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSV, Wii U)
  6. Far Cry 3 (360, PS3, PC)
  7. NBA 2K13 (360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, PSP, PC)
  8. Skylanders Giants (Wii, 360, PS3, 3DS, Wii U)
  9. New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
  10. FIFA Soccer 13 (360, PS3, Wii, PSV, Wii U, 3DS, PSP)

Halo 4 ranked No. 4, though fans of the franchise will be quick to point out that it's only available on the Xbox 360, whereas Black Ops 2 has the benefit of being available on several platforms.