January 15, 2010

December Breaks Record Of Most Video Games Sold Ever

After a 2009 dominated by lower year-over-year monthly sales figures, the video game industry turned things around in a huge way just in time for the holidays, recording its best month ever, reported analyst firm NPD Group on Thursday.

According to NPD, the industry turned in U.S. sales of $5.53 billion in December, up 4 percent from $5.32 billion a year earlier. While it could not have been any more of a relief to the companies in the video games business that they had finally turned in a month of year-over-year growth, the December results were especially impressive given that in December 2008 the industry for the first time surpassed the $5 billion mark for a single month. 

Much of this increase was due to sales of gaming systems, a signal that price cuts by console makers in August and September helped lure holiday shoppers into buying them as gifts.

Hardware sales jumped 16 percent to $2.19 billion. The Nintendo Wii sold 3.8 million units, more than its rivals, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 did, combined. It set a record for most gaming systems ever sold in a single month.

Michael Gallagher, chief executive of the Entertainment Software Association, told AFP, "Clearly, 2009 was (a) tough year for consumers and the national economy."

"That said, our industry's structure is solid, and I anticipate a strong 2010 with a pipeline full of highly-anticipated titles."

But despite the fantastic December, the total 2009 industry sales came in 8 percent below those of 2008, the best year the industry has yet seen.

The month's three best-selling games were New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wii Fit Plus, and Wii Sports Resort. Those three games sold 2.82 million, 2.41 million and 1.79 million units.

The game that got the most attention during the holiday season, Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which, it was announced Wednesday, had passed $1 billion in worldwide sales.

Some other big hits were Ubisoft's "Assassin's Creed II" and "Modern Warfare 2" by Activision.

Cammie Dunaway, vice president of Nintendo of America, says, "Clearly there is overwhelming consumer demand for fun games, motion controls and value."


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