2005 a record year for US gaming

Industry outpaces 2004 revenues despite fourth-quarter slump; Electronic Arts and Star Wars dominate year-end sales list.

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Despite less-than-rosy reports from retailers for the last few months of 2005, the US game industry still experienced record sales, according to year-end figures from The NPD Group.

For the year, US retailers sold $10.5 billion of gaming hardware, software, and accessories, 6 percent higher than last year's $9.9 billion. The 2005 tally also sets a new record for the industry, breaking 2002's previous high of $10.3 billion.

Anita Frazier, entertainment-industry analyst for the NPD Group, reflected on how, after a dismal fourth calendar quarter, the industry was able to end the year with a net revenue gain. "Heading into the second week of December, all industry grumblings continued, [indicating] that the industry was very soft and that few, if any, titles were selling at expectations. Combined with the grumbling about the lack of supply of 360's, well, it wasn't pretty...[but] by all accounts, the last two weeks were stellar."

What a lot of people didn't recognize, given the bad reports in the back part of the year, Frazier said, "was that as of November, on a year-to-date basis, we were still up 5 percent."

And ultimately, it was the holiday season that spelled the difference for the industry.

"The last two-week pickup is a testament to the appeal of this form of entertainment," said Frazier. "Folks may have been dragging their feet, but when it came down to it, they wanted something 'gaming' under the trees for the holiday."

While the console market declined over the year as the transition to next-generation systems began, the portable market picked up the slack, bringing in $1.4 billion thanks to the launch of the PSP and the growing momentum of the Nintendo DS. Despite the suddenly crowded handheld market, the Game Boy Advance remained king of the portables, as 64 percent of portable games sold were for the GBA.

As for the actual games, it was a banner year for Electronic Arts and the Star Wars franchise. EA took home five of the top 10 best-selling titles, with Madden NFL 06 coming in first and fourth place on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, respectively, and three of its other sports titles making appearances in the top 10. Three Star Wars games also made the top list, with the predictable sellers, the game based on Star Wars Episode III and Battlefront II, being joined by Eidos' quirky Lego Star Wars action gamer.

Top console and handheld games of 2005:
1. Madden NFL 06 (PS2), Electronic Arts, over 2.9 million sold
2. Pokemon Emerald (GBA), Nintendo of America, over 1.7 million sold
3. Gran Turismo 4 (PS2), SCEA, over 1.5 million sold
4. Madden NFL 06 (Xbox), Electronic Arts, over 1.2 million sold
5. NCAA Football 06 (PS2), Electronic Arts, over 1.1 million sold
6. Star Wars: Battlefront II (PS2), LucasArts, over 1 million sold
7. MVP Baseball 2005 (PS2), Electronic Arts, over 970,000 sold
8. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (PS2), LucasArts, over 930,000 sold
9. NBA Live 06 (PS2), Electronic Arts, over 820,000 sold
10. LEGO Star Wars (PS2), Eidos, over 800,000 sold

Discussion

163 comments
RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

Holy... a total of 4.1 million Madden 06

Superlegtesta
Superlegtesta

Hum, in this list I could only, maybe, imagine one or two games, at the most, becoming somewhat classic games. It's like watching the top ten movies of the year : how many of these movies were actually good? How many of these games are actually different, imaginative and worth playing? This just confirms what I've always been thinking : the American public's taste is, let's just say, easy to please.

Fingerella69er
Fingerella69er

God of War and RE4 should have been there though cuz they're really good games but anyways they sold alot too

Fingerella69er
Fingerella69er

obviously madden was gonna be #1 I mean when isnt it besides when a GTA or Halo game comes out? im glad that those games got 1st place. Most of them are good or decent games except for the star wars movie game.

konfuzed
konfuzed

This list saddens and angers the great konfuzed. All hail the obscure niche titles!

Captain_Tom
Captain_Tom

Holy smokin' crap. Sony has such a fat market share. I always knew it was big, but 8/10 top sellers? Whoa.

MichaelPagel
MichaelPagel

I think this finding is due to a lost youth. Nothing wrong with that, however I think this why people turn to video games. Movies tend to suck...alot, most young people in their late teens and early twenties work crumby jobs, studying for exams gets tiring, and over all I think gamers are looking for an escape for the boring, socialy pressuring, hard, real world. When I was a kid playing mario and sonic the hedge hog, I naively thought my life too was going to have some greater purpose. Maybe not to rescue a princess or run like mad grabbing gold rings, but I thought there was going to be something. In truth, I found none of this at all. I went to 2 years of college and worked as a waiter, then fed up with that I moved to Beijing China and now teach english. And today, I have yet to find a purpose as simple as get the "highest score" in life. Maybe so many people are playing video games to put a slight bit of purpose in their lives or maybe to escape. Maybe the increased number sales reflects a growing population, or maybe the world is getting richer and more people can now afford such luxeries. But to me girls, alcohol, and video games are the best part of life I have experienced, and in that order.

webby1
webby1

Im not really suprised thats the kind of games that normally sell a lot unless a big hit is out, Halo's, GTA's, Legend of Zelda's, Final Fantasy's

Anthonybdfg
Anthonybdfg

Last year games but this year game are going to be even bettter

YonSon
YonSon

only one nintendo product on the list!?!?!?!?!!?!!!????????!?!?!?!!!?! : (

Sheik_Yerbouti_
Sheik_Yerbouti_

Notice the disparity between the games on that list and the ones that get the most attention here on GS? That's because the folks who helped put those games on that list are not the same ones who hang out here. I mean, it's sad that prolefeed like this beats out great games like NG:B, God of War and RE4, but what are you gonna do?

boo_dat
boo_dat

well, there are a lot of children out there who play videogames...I'd say 70% of the market is made up of children...and let me be frank, children are stupid. They don't know a good game from a bad one. Also, this is North America...obviously the gaming industry is completely male dominated...and of those males, I'd say about half of them enjoy football...and I'm guessing that out of that percentage, almost all of those guys are going to buy a football game...everyone knows that if you're going to buy any football game at all that it's going to be Madden! I'll admit...if you have a lot of friends over, it's always a crowd pleaser when you bring out Madden or a racing game...with that said, I'd probably never buy a Madden game but I have been to all my friend's places and about 3/4 of them own a Madden game. I dunno, does anyone agree with me here?

n2Deepeth
n2Deepeth

I like to play some football games, but I wouldn't consider buying one every year. I'd stick with any other past football games that are similar to madden or blitz.. It's sad to see that awesome games don't get as many sales as more generic games.

masterdeath31
masterdeath31

Yea man what is with the lack of BC with the 360 aarg

Hero_of_Time82
Hero_of_Time82

I can't believe that over 4 million people actually bought Madden 06... wow

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

surprising.....2006 should be a big year with ps3 and rev coming out (depending on how many launch titles and games beyond launch there will be)

Regnall
Regnall

I didn't buy any of these games. It's mostly because I don't buy games that suck or games that are sports games.

tbot19
tbot19

The Japanese numbers are in also..go to www.gamasutra.com.... they also said that GT4 is the only title to figure prominently(top 5) in all three major Sales charts worldwide(Being Europe,North America and Japan). That leads to the next question...what exactly was the top selling game worlwide for 2005? Was it GT4 or something else?

thepeter
thepeter

i bet the 2006 list will have a bunch of PS2 games on it still. i wonder if Zelda could be #1...

yboucher
yboucher

And actually, the thing is that these stats, just like any other stats, only give one part of the story. NPD can't track EVERY sale, especially considering that a good part of their data comes from voluntary sales disclosure from publishers. Needless to say not every publisher is interested in disclosing that, but some are, like EA, being a public company, disclosing their sales figures and ending up in such force on that chart definitely gives some fuel to their stock value. But like any other chart, I wouldn't take this one for cash.

yboucher
yboucher

The ONLY good game in that list is GT4.

nsmasta
nsmasta

LOL ! i didn"t buy any of those! do i have bad taste for games, or is it just that i don't like sports games or popular games ? ... and pokemon? it's still selling O_O ??

jt11989
jt11989

i liked msot of those games

chris132000
chris132000

PC>>>>>XBOX>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>PS2.PC games rules

secily
secily

EA is teh devil!

guybrush876
guybrush876

I don't understand. There are more them 50M consoles sold in the USA and the best selling game is another madden game? Not even 10 games managed to sell more than 1M. What do people doing with there consoles? just bougth them for the sake of it? Are there so many consoles with a chip or swap magic? I relly don't get it. Not one single game from the top 20 games of 2005 (according to gamerankings top).

Igiss
Igiss

Waiting for PC sale figures, then conclusions will be more precise I guess.

ewjim
ewjim

Star Wars is in "Top console and handheld games of 2005"?! Where is the world coming to... Where is God of War or RE4, or Devil May Cry, or something BETTER then SW??? :(

Prideless4life
Prideless4life

I can understand football games being sold a lot in the market since it has the only license....but dam. Pokemon??? Lil kids still havent found anything better to do..... Gta 4?? ehh maybe. Battlefront 2....probably since there isnt any other game on Ps2 that was fun online...get it?? online..sony sucks...online.sucks=sony online...hahah im so funny :) Wtf is lego star wars doing there??? ppl suck at shopping for games.. wow this is horrible.... YEah world of warcraft would be number one if Pc games were included....EVERYONE was addicted to that shyt...thank god i got out.

g0t12ic3
g0t12ic3

This is a joke! I mean I'm positive RE4 got like 3 million sales so why isn't it up there? Crazy they either miscaculated or EA hired them..

peterles
peterles

yea, the list is pretty lame, i didnt buy any of those games. its a shame that the really really good games that came out in 2005 didn't earn the gobs of money that they deserve, oh well, what are you goona do

Arley569
Arley569

Madden all the way get over IT!

Viquist
Viquist

I like Star Wars Battlefront II but I agree that the sports games should not be dominating... it's very sad. There were plenty of games better than the one's onn this list so why is Madden #1? I don't get it - RPG's FPS's Act/Adv Hack&Slash platformers ... and America - our gaming public chooses sports that they could be outside playing. I just don't understand.

Randomd00d
Randomd00d

i just think its a little sad that LEGO STAR WARS sold more then like alot of games that are way better then it....

bizsumpark182
bizsumpark182

Man, people buy way too many sports games. But, if you think about, most of the people that buy these sports games only play sports games because they want to be like the superstar players. If someone would only introduce these people to some good ole' fashion FPS or something.

playwrite
playwrite

madden. madden. not RE4. not God of War. not Katamari. not even mario kart DS (granted, it was released kinda late in the year). we get Madden. hell, the only nintendo game on the list was pokemon. thy don't even make good pokemon games anyomre. eugh. if LoZ doesn't clean up this year i will be so pissed...

playwrite
playwrite

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

I bet these numbers don't include revenue from WoW subscriptions either.

ryokinshin
ryokinshin

battlefront is a pretty gd game i hav pc version, people should just get into more different games, its ok if a few sports games are on there, but it shoudlnt be dominating

budlongmv
budlongmv

Its amazing how stupid people are, they just buy EA sports because it's EA, no matter how bad the game is, and Star Wars games no matter how bad those games are. SW Episode 3 sold almost a million games, it was a horrible game.

Danski90
Danski90

GOW and DMC3 and Resi 4 didn't make that list? wow...

ocdog45
ocdog45

lets all thank each other for another great year of playing video games