Tomorrow, industry-research firm the NPD Group is expected to release its year-end 2008 sales numbers for the US game market. Today, top nationwide video-rental measurement company Rentrak Corporation released its own figures for 2008, which listed the top 10 games that were rented most across the country. The company claims to track more than 1 billion transactions and 65,000 movie and game rental properties every year. It ranked games according to consumer spending, not actual units rented, at thousands of rental locations nationwide.
Like NPD's monthly best-seller list, Rentrak's top 10 reflects only individual retail products, or SKUs (stock-keeping units), and does not combine rentals of each console iteration of multiplatform games. As such, the company says that the most-rented game of 2008 was Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360, followed by Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for the Xbox 360. The next three top renters were also all on Microsoft's console: Halo 3 (3rd), Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (4th), and Army of Two (5th).
The first non-360 game doesn't pop up until sixth place in the form of Mario Kart Wii. Behind it was another Nintendo favorite, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, with the 360 Fallout 3 (8th) and Assassin's Creed (9th) behind it. Last but not least was another Wii game, Mario Party 8, leaving the third-place PlayStation 3 shut out of the year's top-10 rentals.
Rentrak said that the two top-finishing consoles both increased their share of the rental market last year. The Xbox 360 went from 26.1 percent (2007) to 36.8 percent (2008) of consumer dollars spent on rentals, while the Wii went from 7.3 percent to 17.1 percent. Rentrak did not release PS3 statistics.
RENTRAK'S MOST RENTED GAMES OF 2008
1) Grand Theft Auto IV / Xbox 360 / Rockstar Games
2) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare / Xbox 360 / Activision
3) Halo 3 / Xbox 360 / Microsoft
4) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 / Xbox 360 / Ubisoft
5) Army of Two / Xbox 360 / Electronic Arts
6) Mario Kart Wii / Wii / Nintendo
7) Super Smash Bros. Brawl / Wii / Nintendo
8) Fallout 3 / Xbox 360 / Bethesda
9) Assassin's Creed / Xbox 360 / Ubisoft
10) Mario Party 8 / Wii / Nintendo