The NPD results for U.S., retail software and hardware sales is in and it covers both December's results and the totals of 2012. It's all very unsurprising stuff if you really know the ins and outs of the gaming industry, but to casuals and naysayers it probably looks like a whole lot of doom and gloom. I'm sure a few shareholders even rage-quit during the quarterly investors call.

So let's get to it. has a good layout of the results where it's mentioned that December took a real hit in the retail sector compared to 2011, bringing in only $3.21 billion a 22% drop from the previous year.

In December, hardware was down 20% with only a $1.07 billion intake and down 27% from the previous year. Software was also down like liquid running down a child's leg after an older brother jumps out of the closet wearing a frightening gorilla mask. How far down was software? How about 27% down with a paltry $1.58 billion rounding out the final month of 2012.

In total, the entire retail gaming industry had a slip and fall case resulting in a 22% dropoff in revenue from 2011, bringing in only $13.26 billion compared to 2011's $17 billion. Take note, however, that this does not include the rest of the world, digital, pre-owned or third-party sales.

NPD industry analyst Liam Callahan made a few comments about the results, urging to assuage shaky-kneed investors by stating...
"2012 was also the best year for point card and subscription card sales as gamers sought digital content on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Nintendo's eShop. Games like Journey and Minecraft broke records for number of games downloaded,"

An apt historical comparison for this this month is December 2005, which was the first December of the previous console generation. As a testament to how much the retail market has grown, overall physical dollar sales in December 2012 are up 10% when compared to December 2005,”

Callahan also notes that a drop in new releases also hurt the industry quite a bit with 29% fewer SKUs across all platforms. Piss poor games also help in the dropoff as well.

Anyway, there's a list of some of the top games of month and the top games of the year. Unsurprisingly enough, Call of Duty: Black Ops II edged out the competition for the top spot, followed by Madden NFL 13 and Halo 4 to round out the top three.

I'd love to see what the numbers looked like for the digital side of things...especially given that a few records were broken for the PSN with some of their releases but as the chart shows, a game like Journey doesn't show up since it wasn't on store shelves at the time.

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