Game software sales flat in 2010, overall retail sales down 6% - NPD

Research firm's new measuring format finds software even; older standard sees retail sales of hardware, software, and accessories slide; Call of Duty: Black Ops year's top game.

Today NPD released its yearly sales figures for 2010, and the results were mixed. According to the company's new measuring standard, adopted last June, some $15.4-$15.6 billion of game software was purchased last year in the US, a change of 0 to -1 percent.

Surprise? Black Ops was the top game of 2010.

The new software figure includes sales of physical non-PC and PC games, used games, game rentals, subscriptions, digital full-game downloads, social network games, downloadable content, and mobile games. Purely physical retail sales of PC and non-PC game software totaled $10.06 billion in 2010, a 5 percent decline from 2009's $10.60 billion haul.

Overall retail sales of non-PC hardware, software, and accessories slid 6 percent in 2010, falling from $19.7 billion in 2009 to $18.58 billion in 2010. Despite surging sales of the Xbox 360, hardware saw the biggest decline, falling 13 percent from $7.19 billion to $6.29 billion. Non-PC retail software sales also slipped, dropping 6 percent from $9.92 billion to $9.36 billion. Accessories, on the other hand, saw a 13 percent increase to $2.93 billion, thanks to the introduction of the PlayStation Move and Kinect motion-sensing systems.

As far as individual games, the year's top title was Call of Duty: Black Ops (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS), followed by Madden NFL 11 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP). Halo: Reach (360) came in third, followed by New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) in fourth and Red Dead Redemption (360, PS3) in fifth. Sixth place belonged to Wii Fit Plus (Wii), followed by Just Dance 2 (Wii) and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360, PS3, PC). Bringing up the rear were Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (360, PS3) and NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, PC).

Unlike in previous years, NPD did not provided year-end sales figures for either hardware platforms or individual software titles.

NPD 2010 US GAME SALES
OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Total retail: $18.58 billion (-6%)
Non-PC retail hardware: $6.29 billion (-13%)
Non-PC retail accessories: $2.39 billion (+13%)
Non-PC retail software: $9.36 billion (-6%)
Retail software (incl. PC): $10.06 billion (-5%)
Software (incl. PC, DLC, mobile, social, rentals, & used): $15.4-$15.6 billion (0 to -1%)

TOP 10 GAMES
Title (Platforms) - Publisher
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS) - Activision
2. Madden NFL 11 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP) - Electronic Arts
3. Halo: Reach (360) - Microsoft
4. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) - Nintendo
5. Red Dead Redemption (360, PS3) - Rockstar Games
6. Wii Fit Plus (Wii) - Nintendo
7. Just Dance 2 (Wii) - Ubisoft
8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360, PS3, PC) - Activision
9. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (360, PS3) - Ubisoft
10. NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, PS2, PSP, WII, PC) - 2K Sports

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Discussion

108 comments
OnHighToTheLow
OnHighToTheLow

I'm in college and broke; I'll buy CoDBO, DoW 2 Retribution, and Elder Scrolls 4: Skyrim (set to release in 11-11-11) easy to remember : ) - not to mention the CoDBO map pack coming out soon

mrwiggles98
mrwiggles98

does anyone have blackops for xbx360

geordiebe
geordiebe

lol look at the games that are only where on one console beat games with more then one console

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

All these figures are in revenues and there are no unit sales figures. If as I suspect people are a bit short of cash they will hunt out the best deals. So how do we know that more games aren't being sold but at lower prices?

muzza93
muzza93

@DarthJohnova No, its cos ive already played the best games, & theres heaps i havnt played and they all suck,

Rakshakha
Rakshakha

hum...call of duty sells cause player who have a previous CoD are afraid all players will stop playing the previous game in the series and they will stop having online action, that's why u have a new COD every year, the producers know they game will sell, cause everyone who has bought it will buy it again.....i'm one of the few people who bought COD for the first time, I love it ,cause it doesnt make me think much but its sill a hell of a game, but I will not buy anyother COD or DLC... in 2010 i bough : Demons Souls,RDR and all it's DLC ; GT5; COD:BO..... 2011 will buy: TES V: Skyrim; Killzone 3; Two Worlds II; Project Dark(if it comes); Mass effect 2; Cursed Crusade.....possibily Brink......that 7X70=490 euros Oh f*ck....

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

@sircyrus, Exellent post, hit the nail squarely and firmly on the head with that one.

DarthJohnova
DarthJohnova

@Muzza93 I understand what you mean, there were also more 'humorous' games, but these days it costs Devs so much to make games, i guess it's starved out the variety of games. That being said, having just played Red Dead and Dragon Age, i've just found two of my new favourite games of all time...so you've just gotta look carefully and you'll find what you're looking for :)

Larzarus1
Larzarus1

Wondering why Madden is up there? People watch it every year, playing it every year can't be any different

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

@sircyrus That's just natural advacnement in graphical processing, if CoD 8 (or w/e it is) was half the game CoD and CoD: UO were then it'll be the best since CoD2

muzza93
muzza93

Theres no variety in games these days. When PS2 was the best thing around, i was spoilt for choice, now i go look for games on new consoles and its just, these are all crap. Anyone agree?

sircyrus
sircyrus

@Dynamo11 So do you think that Activision would say to it's developers not to worry if the next Call of Duty looks like the original Call of Duty... example: http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/callofduty/images/0/4/ ...but instead just to make sure that it has multiplayer? I don't think that would happen.

BAD-C0MPANY
BAD-C0MPANY

@ blackace Well once your game is downloaded you can simply set Steam to offline for the mean time by clicking on Steam in the left hand corner and pressing Go Offline. Then just click PLAY on your game and Steam won't annoy you anymore. :)

aco91
aco91

Mafia 2, Fallout New Vegas, Napoleon Total war, Splinter Cell Conviction. I think these games should have gotten some more credit. Mafia 2 story seemed short, but that was because that game was awesome from the beginning to the end! Fallout New Vegas, a "sequel" to Fallout 3, maybe. A good game? YES! Napoleon total war, more intensive campaigns, a bit better graphics and some change of setting. Seems a bit like Empire Total war, but still a good game. Splinter Cell Conviction, Liked the action, but single player feels short. But these games are better than Madden NFL 11!!!

imprezawrx500
imprezawrx500

madden, wii fit, just dance 2 nba 2k11 and 2 call of duties, what is the gaming industry coming to? When you see this it is no surprise that great games like metro 2033 are few and far between.

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

@sircyrus I disagree, Multipalyer is the "most" important now, even if it's either crap or recycled (CoD, MoH) or completely irrelevant to the game (GTAIV, Bioshock 2)

chronolzx
chronolzx

if gamespot.com stops giving excellent reviews to recycled garbage like madden and CoD then maybe there is a chance that people will buy less of them and so we can expect better games to appear on this list.

TheArcade
TheArcade

@JPH85: Thanks for the input. Now if we were to mount the three major markets. GT5 US $1 million units Europe $3 million units Japan $1 million units ATLEAST Altogether we're looking at $5 million so that's what led wikipedia to that 5.5 million mark. I half expected more out of Sony's best game. The series has a lush history of sales. I'm shocked Halo REACH and Call of Duty upset it. I initially thought GT was going to outsell those games based on past history. Kind of a let down. Aw well, perhaps there's still time for GT to catch those games. You'd be crazy not to respect the GT series influence.

diegoc95
diegoc95

Really, why do people still buys NFL? Don't you get tired of the same thing every year?

sircyrus
sircyrus

The Top 10 Games list shows a bunch of sequels. There's only a single brand new game on there (RDR) which really wasn't a new game so much as a new setting for an established formula. If developers want players to start buying more games, maybe they should try creating more original games, rather than simply churning out the same multiplatform garbage with the same emphasis on it's graphics, and commonly only an 8-10 hour single player story. Unfortunately, the developers have created an industry in which innovation is frowned upon, because it implies risk. You've got a bunch of beancounters calling the shots at these massive companies that snatch up the independent studios. Those independent studios were founded by people who actually like games, and who wanted to make something new, but instead get given the task of developing the megacompany's latest garbage movie-game tie-in. In today's industry, the list goes... (from most important to least important) -Graphics -Multiplayer -Accessibility -Celebrity voice overs -Physics -Story -Innovation It's a sad sorry state. And with this microtransaction-laden multiplatform trend showing no sign of stopping, it's only going to continue and get worse.

minhas27
minhas27

5 years of making gt5 not in number 10 list garbage game

firesoul88
firesoul88

Where is mass effect 2 spot on that list?, oh yeah stolen by madden nfl

oneligas
oneligas

well the industry cannot blame me for decreased sales i bought 10+ games last year, some collectors editions and a lot of DLC last year

japanesegoth
japanesegoth

digital downloading nonsense. people who play farmville probably contribute a lot to those numbers...it's free to play but you can buy useless stuff for like $1 so it doesn't sound bad until you've bought 100 little things. i never spent money on it and i'm glad i got out of that game

CLOCKWORKIAN
CLOCKWORKIAN

"But they're different. They're digital." Who said the line?!

BasiK3108
BasiK3108

all thanks to 60 bucks games!!!! before i just went and probably spend more money than now but got 5 games at a time now i have to carefully choose and i can just get 1 or 2 games that i read a lot about so i know i wont be wasting my money, it makes me miss buying games blindly to see what they are all about :S

Enisi_
Enisi_

And rightly so. Digital distribution is evil.

thecartman80
thecartman80

madden is boring halo, black ops, and red dead redemption are way better

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

COD, Halo, and Madden. Ho hum, lol.

CLOCKWORKIAN
CLOCKWORKIAN

@ Mysterieux936 Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Completely agree. Looking at these figures is akin to looking at the Nielsen ratings for television, where shows like "CSI" and "Two and a Half Men" reign supreme.

Mysterieux936
Mysterieux936

The top 3 games are CoD, Madden, and Halo...I think it's about time for another plague.

dipsetboy17
dipsetboy17

well in 2010 i bought 20 ps3 games, 4 psp games, 4 ds games, 3 ps1 games(from psn), and 2 psn games. i did my fair share of spending lol. the only game i bought up on that top 10 games list is black ops. everything else didn't interest me at all. i don't like sports games, halo,Mario doesn't interest me much anymore, rdr is just gta in the west, i don't like waggle games, and assassin's creed bh i might get later. the us needs to start buying other types of games. i cannot wait until next month because that's when the ps3 jrpgs will start to flow. and to the haters, yes they still make them. i know I'm not the only ps3 user that is hungry for that one jrpg that blows you away this gen.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

Last year would have been a huge disappointment if not for Red Dead, and Mass Effect 2 (and Alan Wake, in my opinion). Even the eagerly awaited sequels such as Brotherhood, Bioshock 2, and New Vegas seemed to fall very short of hopes and expectations.

jamesAboy19
jamesAboy19

they are down, but not lossing money so its all good :) except activison....they need to loose money. Although apparently the new PS3 hack could make PS3 piracy worse than PSP, so next year could be even worse for the industry =/

GatsuBlackSword
GatsuBlackSword

I can say 2010 was a "safety year" for the industry. There were very little original IP's coming to disc (except for Bayonetta), mostly sequels to games that people loved and that's not a bad thing but this industry is based on innovation and new IP's. Still 2011 is gearing up to be full of sequels because at the end of the day it's about making the all mighty dollar. But with games like Mass Effect 3, MVC3, Killzone 3, Uncharted 3, Arkham 2, Dead Space 2, Okami Den and two new Pokemon games I think the industry might have a better year in 2011.

anthonycg
anthonycg

2010 was pretty weak. For every good game there were 20 of the same FPSs and like 1 random JRPG came out this year. Do they still make those? Anyway, I'm looking forward to some innovation this year. The jump from last gen is crap compared to the N64 to PS2 era. And I don't count move/kinect or that 3d crap because everyone doesn't have the time or money for useless shovelware like that. Make good games - get paid. Very simple people. It's not that hard. Ok it's hard but c'mon...

anthonycg
anthonycg

@andr31coco The game isn't bad but it's exactly the same every year... Story full of loopholes, same easy achievements and streaks so stupidly easy to get that it's not even fun - but of course that's the point.... Oh and their excuse for good AI is enemy sights with motion paths to your head. Sorry but that's a no go for me. People are just easily amused these days. Avatar was just a Fern Gully rip off, Saw was just random gore, Kesha doesn't sing, she just bops around the same three lines and goes to the chorus.... Nevermind I'm done ranting. But the time of quality media is dead until people demand better. Otherwise EA and Activision will continue to give you their weakest effort every year.

JulianBeamen420
JulianBeamen420

@andr31coco MW2 was Garbage. It was full of hackers and glitches that still go unnoticed 1 year later. Black Ups is way better.

edidili
edidili

Madden? Seriously? loooool

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

Not madden! nooooooo! there must be a mistake! Usa are the Mc'donald of gaming!

andr31coco
andr31coco

I don't get all of you MW2 haters. Just because one idiot said it sucked because he got owned because he sucks at playing shooters, all of you "geniuses" copy him. What is so wrong with the game? It's just a game, if you want reality, no glitches or a simulator, go join the goddamn army and stop whining about it over the internet. 90% of you still bought the game, and that's a fact!

madmanjim
madmanjim

the reason profits are down for retail is because there so damn expensive in store. online it can be up to half the price

FinalDuo1886
FinalDuo1886

@firehawk998 I agree. And developers will continue too keep releasing broken games, and collecting profit, and patching what they want to patch, because this new generation of gamers simply put, consider it ok. I just hope this year is a little better...

coldheart32767
coldheart32767

i agree with this cause the story of the Black Ops is Great and Greater than MW2... but many people says that this game is a crap and more on Multiplayer

M-S-M-S
M-S-M-S

I doubt this numbers include digital version sales through digital distribution services such as Steam. And this is the problem with NPD. No real numbers for PC sales. And of course, these are just US sales (which are still impressive).

JPH85
JPH85

Also, how are the sales flat with Halo Reach, Cod BO & MW2 (released last year but strong 2010 sales), RDR, and Super Galaxy 2 were released this year? Weird.

JPH85
JPH85

@TheArcade GT5 sold like sh!t in the US, barely surpassing the 1 million mark. It is in Europe that the game sold a lot, over 3 million.