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10 best-selling retail games of 2014: Call of Duty, Madden, and Destiny lead the way

10 best-selling retail games of 2014: Call of Duty, Madden, and Destiny lead the way

Destiny The Dark Below

Destiny The Dark Below

Above: Destiny was not the best-selling game of 2014.

Image Credit: Bungie

Last year was the first full 12-month period where the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were in peoples’ homes, and games for those systems dominated the sales charts.

Industry-tracking firm The NPD Group just released the list of the 10 best-selling new games at retail in 2014, and familiar franchises dominated the list. We’ll take a look at the list in a moment and then break down the results — but first, let’s look at 2014 by the numbers.

The gaming industry generated $13.1 billion from new physical sales at retail throughout 2014. That is up 1 percent from $12.9 billion last year. Most of that growth came from $5.07 billion in hardware revenue, which is up 20 percent year-over-year. Game sales took a 13-percent dive to $5.3 billion, but that’s largely because no one game could match the huge sales numbers of 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V launch.

OK. Let’s get to the software sales chart:

  1. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3, PC)
  2. Madden NFL 15 (Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PS3)
  3. Destiny (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3)
  4. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  5. Minecraft (Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4)
  6. Super Smash Bros. (3DS, Wii U)
  7. NBA 2K15 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC)
  8. Watch Dogs (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
  9. FIFA 15 (360, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Wii, 3DS, Vita)
  10. Call of Duty: Ghosts (360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, PC)

Once again, Call of Duty topped the list. The series has done this every year for most of the last decade with the exception of 2013, when Grand Theft Auto V took the top spot.

What is perhaps a little bit more surprising is that publisher Activision’s highly anticipated and much-discussed sci-fi shooter Destiny failed to topple perennial favorite Madden NFL 15. Madden may have the advantage when it comes to brand recognition, but publisher Electronic Arts’ football series hasn’t seen too much growth in recent years.

The biggest surprise on this list is probably Minecraft. The game finished at No. 9 on 2013’s list, but it’s only performing better with age … and availability on more platforms. It was only on disc for Xbox 360 in the previous year, and it still sold best on that platform. But now the PS3, Xbox One, and PS4 have all helped it move further up the list.

The combined versions of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U performed well for Nintendo. The 3DS version sold better, but it also came out earlier and on a system with more players. Regardless, Nintendo is probably happy with this result.

When it comes to disappointments, it’s all about Ubisoft. Watch Dogs barely made the list at No. 8, and Assassin’s Creed: Unity failed to chart at all. This is the first time an Assassin’s Creed game hasn’t shown up on the NPD’s end-of-year top 10 since 2008, which was the last year Ubisoft did not release a new Assassin’s Creed.

The NPD Group provides market information and advisory services to help our clients make better business decisions — including developing and offering the right products in the right places at the right prices for the right people in … read more »

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