No Console Exclusives Make NPD’s Best Selling Games Of 2015

Now here’s some news that’s bound to create a tinge of confusion and some rustled jimmies in one camp or another. Why? Because despite all the arguments over console exclusives, sales, deals and backroom dealings to one-up the competition, the sales show that none of the best selling games of the year were driven by exclusivity. That includes Halo, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Bloodborne and The Order1886.

My Nintendo News picked up the news from the NPD’s top 10 best selling games of December, 2015 and the best selling games overall of 2015 based on physical SKU sales. While it’s no surprise that the PS4 was the best selling console of December, what was surprising was that none of the PS4’s exclusives made the top 10 for December. Heck, no exclusive for any console made the top 10 for the month. Heck, no exclusive for any console made the top 10 for the entire year of 2015!

December Top 10 Software Sales:

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
  • Star Wars: Battlefront (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
  • Fallout 4 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
  • Madden NFL 16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  • NBA 2K16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC)
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
  • Minecraft (360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3)
  • Minecraft: Story Mode: A Telltale Game Series (360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3)
  • FIFA 16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)

Full Year Top 10 Software Sales:

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
  • Madden NFL 16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  • Fallout 4 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  • Star Wars: Battlefront (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, Xbox One) 360, PS3, PC)
  • NBA 2K16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  • Minecraft (360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4)
  • FIFA 16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  • Mortal Kombat X (PS4, Xbox One)
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)

That’s right, there are no exclusive games on the list. All of them are multiplatform.

So what happened to the exclusives? Until Dawn? More like not until ever.
The Order: 1886? More like only 1,886 pre-ordered it.
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture? It’s more like everybody went to buy something else.
Bloodborne? The game would need a transfusion of sales from Call of Duty if it wanted to make that top list.
MLB 15: The Show? It couldn’t even show up in the top 10 even if Curt Schilling could swindle $75 million out of Rhode Island… again!

The Xbox fared no better than the PS4, with games like Halo 5: Guardians being scarily absent from the list despite being the biggest AAA exclusive for the home console this generation. If your system’s biggest exclusive didn’t make the top 10 for the entire year then there’s too much fail juice pumping through the factory pipes. Maybe it’s time to switch from Mountain Dew to Red Bull, eh?

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition appeared to be more of an ultimate fail. Forza Motorsport 6 came out of nowhere, zipping onto the scene and zipping off the scene just as quickly, leaving no cardboard cutout pedestrian behind. Rare Replay put in a good effort but couldn’t etch out a victory on the top 10. And despite Rise of the Tomb Raider supposedly moving more than a million units between the Xbox One and Xbox 360 through digital and physical sales, it was neither enough to make the NPD’s top 10 for December nor the top 10 for 2015.

No one was expecting  Wii U games to make the list… it would be like hoping an NBA player could go a full career without creating a Welfare case somewhere in the regional conference. Splatoon and Fast Racing Neo scored well in the review department but utterly failed when it came to making the top charts. Although in the case of Fast Racing Neo it was a digital-only release so it had no hope of making the NPD charts regardless. Even still, established franchises like Mario Party 10 and Super Mario Maker weren’t enough to get Nintendo a single spot on the board.

Don’t worry Nintendo, in today’s culture of making sure no kid gets left behind, you still get a medal just for participating.


So what did we learn here today, folks?

First, we learned that Microsoft screwed the pooch getting exclusivity for Rise of the Tomb Raider. The only thing they managed to do was oppress Lara Croft’s… potential sales. We also learned that chugging in a bunch of diversity tokenism and checklists in Halo 5 did little to bring in a more diverse crowd. In fact, this was one of the few times where a major Halo release had sales numbers that were probably about as significant as your dog’s last bowel movement.

We also learned that Nintendo is completely insignificant when it comes to moving physical software on the failed Wii U. And we learned that despite Sony selling the PS4 off store shelves more aggressively than Jessica Simpson’s dad sold his daughter as a boobs and beat routine, they couldn’t seem to move any first-party software to match the hardware. In this case, Sony is still selling based on hate-boners for the Xbox One as opposed to selling units because the PS4 has a noteworthy library of exclusives.

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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Contact.

13 thoughts on “No Console Exclusives Make NPD’s Best Selling Games Of 2015

  1. How do the PC numbers stack up against the console numbers with these games?
    The biggest reason i dont have a any of the nextdjen consoles is because i have a decent laptop that still runs anything i throw at it and most of the new games that intrest me get PC ports.

    1. Me as well. The fact of the matter is that last year I spent most of my time buying indie 90s style games from steam and Japanese game ports on it. Many of these games have really low system requirements as it’s not a graphical dick measuring contest but about making fun games.

      I absolutely love the fact Japan has embraced Steam in the last year. I may never go back to PS or Xbox again as I find both their first party lineups woeful.

      1. What do you mean by ’embraced’? What was going on before?
        *edit
        Oh, I guess you probably mean more Japanese dev releases. I see what you mean.

      2. Yeah, we got almost everything else for the last few years but Japan has been cranking out new games and tons of re-released ports of late. Awesomeness.

    2. PC versions don’t stack up too badly. According to some rough estimates more than 350 million digital copies were sold through Steam in 2015. That’s not including Uplay, Origin and GOG.com.

      Porting has also become a lot more important, especially following the Arkham Knight fiasco, so we’ve seen fewer piss poor ports. And modding is coming back to some big name games, with Activision re-integrating mod tools back into the CoD series starting with Black Ops 3. The added split-screen support helps as well.

      I would say that PC gaming is looking extremely healthy and barring any exclusives, you’re getting about the same or a much better experience than what you would find on consoles right now.

  2. All the heavy hitters were very very mainstream games with big franchises behind them too. But the age of exclusives is slowly ending.
    And Halo died when Bungie stopped producing them but they got literally who in charge of mass producing more rehash Halo, all the other factors are result of that.

  3. Does surprise me a little that Halo didn’t at least make that list at least for December, too late for it to hit the yearly top charts though. Nothing else released even had a chance of selling those kind of numbers imo.

    1. Yep, if it wasn’t going to make the top 10 in December there’s likely little hope it’s going to rebound in January. They really screwed the pooch on that one because the marketing for it was great and they had a great opportunity to tell a really compelling story.

      The problem is that they wanted to play it safe. They wanted to focus more on representation than characterization, and they wanted an after-school special style wrap-up and resolution to many of the events. I understand the game is rated Teen, but it doesn’t mean they have to dumb the story down to the point where the entire thing loses its appeal and flavor.

      It no longer feels like a compelling space opera but more like a brand that Microsoft is desperately trying to find a way to make lucrative once more.

      1. That’s what happens when the creatives leave and you’re left with branding officers and corporate minded people. Exceptional marketing followed by a extremely safe ‘product’ rather than a game that’s going somewhere.

  4. This is fantastic and also something I was hoping to see happen with the x86 consoles.
    Multiplatform is considerably less difficult than it used to be. There’s less developer incentive to not go multiplatform and pretty clear financial incentive in favor of it.

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