Earlier today, the US Commerce Department delivered the semi-shocking news that total retail sales for January rose 1 percent, defying a six-month decline in growth and marking the biggest overall retail gains in 14 months. Of course, that percentage climb paled in comparison to the US gaming industry. Reporting on US software, hardware, and accessory sales today, the NPD Group revealed that industry revenues stood at $1.33 billion for January, a 13 percent climb from a year prior.
Falling in line with analysts' expectations, US software sales amounted to $676.6 million in January, a 10 percent increase over last January's $614.7 million haul. And as expected, Nintendo's Wii Fit absolutely clobbered the competition. The Balance Board-equipped fitness training game sold 777,000 units for the month, a figure that sets a new record for the most single-SKU sales in January.
All said, Nintendo once again dominated the software sales charts, having produced half of the top 10 games for the month. Perennial best-seller Wii Play with Remote posted an additional 415,000 units in January, securing it the second slot on the chart. Also a top seller last year, Mario Kart Wii scored the third position with 292,000 units. New Super Mario Bros. and Mario Kart DS, both for Nintendo's portable, landed in eighth and ninth positions, respectively, with sales of 135,000 and 132,000 units.
As for games that weren't exclusive to Nintendo's systems, the Valve-published, Electronic Arts-distributed Left 4 Dead for the Xbox 360 scored the top position, placing fourth with 243,000 units sold. Activision's Call of Duty: World at War followed at a close fifth, selling 235,000 units. EA and Activision battled it out for the sixth and seventh slots as well, with Guitar Hero World Tour on the Wii edging out Skate 2 on the Xbox 360, 199,000 units to 155,000. EA's Lord of the Rings: Conquest achieved sales of 113,000 units on the Xbox 360, rounding out the 10th slot in this month's chart.
NPD analyst Anita Frazier provided some color on the software sales, saying that the presence of catalog hits in the best-seller charts bodes well for continued industry growth in 2009. "Only two of the top 10 games this month were new releases," said Frazier. "The continued strength of games that have been in the market for some time clues us in to just how many new consumers are coming into the industry. This broadening of the audience for gaming will help buoy the industry through these tough economic times, provided they have enough compelling content to keep them interested."
Sales for Sony's console totaled 203,200 units on the month, a 25 percent year-over-year decline from the 269,000 units Sony sold in January 2008. Sales of the aging PlayStation 2 continued to dwindle, selling 101,200 units on the month, while the PSP sold 172,300 units in January.
Nintendo's Wii, on the other hand, greatly upped its performance from last year, taking top billing during the month with 679,200 units sold. The DS, too, turned in a stellar month, adding to its 96.22 million global lifetime sales with another 510,800 systems. After spiking during the holiday rush, Microsoft's Xbox 360 sold 309,000 systems on the month.
US VIDEO GAMES INDUSTRY - JANUARY 2009
Software: $676.6M (+10%)
Hardware: $445.4M (+17%)
Accessories: $209.8M (+11%)
Total Games: $1.33B (13%)
TOP-SELLING HARDWARE - JANUARY 2009
Nintendo DS: 510,800
Xbox 360: 309,000
PlayStation 3: 203,200
PlayStation Portable: 172,300
PlayStation 2: 101,200
TOP-SELLING SOFTWARE - JANUARY 2009
Title / Publisher / Units*
1) Wii Fit w/ Balance Board (Wi) / Nintendo / 777,000
2) Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii) / Nintendo / 415,000
3) Mario Kart Wii w/ Wheel (Wii) / Nintendo / 292,000
4) Left 4 Dead (360) / Electronic Arts / 243,000
5) Call of Duty: World at War (360) / Activision Blizzard / 235,000
6) Skate 2 (360) / Electronic Arts / 199,000
7) Guitar Hero World Tour (Wii) / Activision Blizzard / 155,000
8) New Super Mario Bros. (DS) / Nintendo / 135,000
9) Mario Kart DS (DS) / Nintendo / 132,000
10) Lord of the Rings: Conquest (360) / Electronic Arts / 113,000
* Figures include Collector's Editions and non-hardware bundles.