2009 was a tough year for all types of business, but while many analysts believed games would be the recession-proof golden goose to steer the entertainment industry out of the financial doldrums, game hardware and software sales swan dived worldwide. Last week the NPD Group announced North American game sales finished 2009 at $19.66 billion, an 8 percent decline on 2008 results. Japanese and UK game markets followed suit reporting year-on-year shrinkage of 6.9 and 18 percent, respectively, but in a surprising occurrence announced today, the Australian games industry bucked the trend by posting growth for the 2009 period.
Citing figures from Australian data tracker GfK Australia, the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) announced Australia’s video game industry grew to A$2.05 billion ($1.85 billion) in 2009, a 4 percent growth on 2008. The figure includes hardware, software, and peripheral sales nationally but does not include online retail, downloadable content sales, online game subscriptions, or mobile phone games. Software sales grew by 6 percent while hardware sales dipped slightly--down to 2.247 million units from the previous year’s 2.249 million units sold. Family games again reigned supreme and accounted for 27 percent of total Australian software sales during the year, while the action genre made up 15 percent.
iGEA CEO Ron Curry was pleased with the results saying that "Australia’s interactive entertainment industry continues to maintain sales despite the global economic slowdown."
GfK Australia also used the occasion to announce the top 20 full-price games by software sales for 2009. But while Activision’s tent-pole franchise Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 rocketed up the global sales charts to become the largest entertainment launch in history and has now passed the $1 billion sales mark globally, it wasn’t the biggest seller down under last year. Nintendo dominated the charts with Wii Fit taking the top spot and the company representing 12 of the top 20 entries across its Wii and DS handheld consoles. The full chart can be found below.
Top selling full-price games in Australia 2009
1. Wii Fit, Wii
2. Wii Sports Resort, Wii
3. Wii Play bundle, Wii
4. Mario Kart, Wii
5. New Super Mario Bros., Wii
6. Wii Fit Plus bundle, Wii
7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Xbox 360
8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, PlayStation 3
9. Cricket, Wii
10. The Sims 3, PC
11. Halo 3: ODST, Xbox 360
12. Pokemon Platinum, DS
13. EA Sports Active, Wii
14. More Brain Training From Dr. Kawashima, DS
15. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, PC
16. Mario Kart, DS
17. FIFA 10, PlayStation 3
18. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Wii
19. Assassin’s Creed 2, Xbox 360
20. New Super Mario Bros., DS