99 billion for the month of December in North America, but it still suffered a 21 percent decline year-over-year. By comparison, the industry raked in a whopping $5.07 billion during the same period in 2010.

"Overall industry results are not entirely surprising given that we are on the back end of the current console lifecycle, combined with the continued digital evolution of gaming," revealed NPD analyst Anita Frazier in a statement. "Core gamers continue to be engaged and spend on established franchises across both the digital and physical format using multiple devices for different gaming occasions."

The usual suspects dominated the software top ten, with Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 unsurprisingly emerging as the victor. It was joined by The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim in third, Battlefield 3 in fifth and Assassin's Creed: Revelations in seventh. Popular dancing title, Just Dance 3, managed to shuffle into second, while sports titles Madden NFL 12 and NBA 2K12 both charted. In total, a cool $2.04 billion of the industry's intake came from software.

XBOX 360 was the best selling hardware platform for the month, with extrapolated numbers putting the PlayStation 3 at about 936k units. That number represents a decrease for the platform year-over-year, but Sony's overall holiday (bundling in November NPD figures too) was still stronger overall.

"According to the December NPD, PlayStation 3 closed out a banner 2011 with a bang, showing increases in hardware, software and peripherals year to date," said SCEA's Patrick Seybold. "As we reported earlier this week, consumers flocked to PlayStation consoles and handhelds this holiday season with more than 6.5 million units sold worldwide. With the highly anticipated U.S. launch of PlayStation Vita on February 22, featuring the biggest and best launch lineup across the history of PlayStation platforms,2012 is already shaping up to be another exciting year for PlayStation."

As always, it's a pretty desperate PR from Seybold. $200 PlayStation 3 next year? You better believe it.

Hit the jump for the full software top-ten, courtesy of the NPD.

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
  2. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)
  3. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PS3, PC)
  4. Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
  5. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
  6. Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2)
  7. Assassin's Creed: Revelations (360, PS3, PC)
  8. NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC)
  9. Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)
  10. Batman: Arkham City (360, PS3, PC)

[via joystiq.com]