Modern Warfare 3 tops November sales, natch | Circana November 2023


Call of Duty almost always gobbles up year-end sales, and Modern Warfare 3 is no exception, according to industry-tracking firm Circana. The game topped the list of best-sellers for November, and is the fifth title in the Call of Duty series to do so. However, game and hardware sales were in decline overall for the month, dropping 7% from 2022. Hardware sales, in particular, dropped 24% year-over-year.

November 2023 Dollar Sales, Millions Nov
2022
Nov
2023
Change
Total Video Game Sales $6,294 $5,867 -7%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR platforms) $4,729 $4,600 -3%
Video Game Hardware $1,271 $964 -24%
Video Game Accessories $295 $303 3%
*Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

“November video game content spending dropped 3% when compared to a year ago, to $4.6 billion,” said Mat Piscatella, Circana’s executive producer for games reports. “An 11% decline in Console & Portable Content spending was partially offset by 3% growth across each of the Mobile, Subscription, and ‘PC, Cloud & Non-Console VR’ Content segments.”

As we noted in October, gaming hardware sales have been dropping steadily all year, with that month’s sales having the most precipitous fall of 23%. Now November appears poised to continue this trend, with a 24% drop compared with 2022. This actually brings the total number of hardware sales for 2023 down -1% compared with the year-to-date period in 2022 — it was 6% in October

Year-to-Date 2023 Dollar Sales, Millions YTD End
Nov 2022
YTD End
Nov 2023
Change
Total Video Game Sales $48,995 $49,283 1%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR platforms) $41,913 $42,240 1%
Video Game Hardware $5,056 $4,989 -1%
Video Game Accessories $2,027 $2,054 1%
*Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

Piscatella added, “A primary driver of the year-on-year decline in Console & Portable Content was the comparable strength of the new release slate. November 2022 featured the launches of both God of War: Ragnarök and Pokémon: Scarlet/Violet.”

Circana November 2023: Top 20 best-selling games in the U.S.

Rank Last
Month
Rank
Title Publisher
1 NEW Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III (2023) Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 1 Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Sony (Corp)
3 10 Hogwarts Legacy Warner Bros. Games
4 4 Madden NFL 24 Electronic Arts
5 2 Super Mario Bros. Wonder* Nintendo
6 5 EA Sports FC 24 Electronic Arts
7 NEW Super Mario RPG (2023)* Nintendo
8 6 Mortal Kombat 1 Warner Bros. Games
9 13 NBA 2K24* Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
10 7 UFC 5 Electronic Arts
11 3 Assassin’s Creed: Mirage Ubisoft
12 NEW Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections Bandai Namco Entertainment
13 9 Sonic Superstars Sega
14 18 Star Wars: Jedi: Survivor Electronic Arts
15 36 God of War: Ragnarok Sony (Corp)
16 8 NHL 24 Electronic Arts
17 NEW Star Ocean: The Second Story R Square Enix Inc (Corp)
18 23 Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Corp)
19 19 Minecraft Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
20 73 Just Dance 2024 Edition Ubisoft
*Digital sales not included.

An unusual feature of November’s chart is that several titles have jumped into the Top 20 from much lower on the sales charts. Just Dance 2024 and God of War Ragnarok moved up in part thanks to holiday sales. Similarly, Hogwarts Legacy moved back up to the Top 5 thanks to its release on Nintendo Switch, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales likely saw a spike thanks to the recent release of Spider-Man 2.

November’s releases: What’s there and what’s not there

Out of November’s releases, Modern Warfare 3 and Super Mario RPG are the only two that made it into the Top 10. Other additions include Naruto x Boruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections, which admittedly received rather mixed reviews on launch; and Star Ocean: The Second Story R, a rerelease of the first game in the Star Ocean series, originally launched for the PlayStation in 1998.

Piscatella noted that one of October’s late releases hasn’t appeared on the November charts. Alan Wake 2, which recently won several awards at The Game Awards (including Best Game Direction), did not appear on the October chart due to falling after that chart’s reporting period. However, it’s also missing from the November lists. Piscatella notes this could be because Circana doesn’t report on sales data from the Epic Games Store, and the game’s lack of a physical release on consoles.

Circana November 2023: Best-selling games of the year so far

Rank Last
Month
Rank
Title Publisher
1 1 Hogwarts Legacy Warner Bros. Games
2 NEW Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III (2023) Activision Blizzard (Corp)
3 2 The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom* Nintendo
4 4 Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Sony (Corp)
5 3 Madden NFL 24 Electronic Arts
6 5 Diablo IV Activision Blizzard (Corp)
7 6 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022) Activision Blizzard (Corp)
8 7 Star Wars: Jedi: Survivor Electronic Arts
9 8 Mortal Kombat 1 Warner Bros. Games
10 9 Starfield Microsoft (Corp)
11 10 Resident Evil 4 (2023) Capcom USA
12 12 EA Sports FC 24 Electronic Arts
13 11 MLB: The Show 23^ Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
14 13 Dead Island 2 Plaion
15 21 Super Mario Bros. Wonder* Nintendo
16 14 Final Fantasy XVI Square Enix Inc (Corp)
17 15 Street Fighter 6 Capcom USA
18 16 FIFA 23 Electronic Arts
19 17 Elden Ring Bandai Namco Entertainment
20 19 Remnant II Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
*Digital sales not included. ^Xbox & Switch digital sales not included.

The year-to-date ranking hints at a possible upset for the end of 2023: It’s possible, and even likely that Hogwarts Legacy could be the best-selling game of 2023. This would be the first time in 25 years that the year’s best-selling game hasn’t been either a Call of Duty title or a Rockstar game, according to Piscatella’s recent interview with IGN. It’s still possible that Modern Warfare III could lap Hogwarts Legacy by the end of the year.

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