Last week, Famitsu publisher Enterbrain revealed that the Japan game industry contracted 6.9 percent in 2009, generating ¥542.6 billion ($5.91 billion) in revenue for the year. A day later, the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association said that UK industry figures experienced an even bigger slump in 2009, plummeting 18 percent from a year prior to £3.311 billion ($5.3 billion).
Today, The NPD Group issued its 2009 report for US retail sales, and as with the other primary regions, the figures were substantially off from last year's mark. US non-PC hardware, software, and accessory sales came in at $19.66 billion for the year, down 8 percent from the $21.4 billion the industry brought in during 2008.
"When we started the last decade, video game industry sales, including PC games, totaled $7.98 billion in 2000," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said of the industry's performance. "In 10 years, the industry has changed dramatically in many ways, but most importantly it was grown over those years by more than 250 percent at retail alone. Considering there are many new sources of revenue including subscriptions and digital distribution, industry growth is even more impressive."
Portable hardware was the only segment to see growth in 2009, rising 6 percent from 2008 levels. Total console hardware sales slipped 13 percent during the year. According to NPD figures from the past 12 months, the DS topped hardware sales with 11,185,400 units in the US in 2009, while the Wii shifted 9,594,000 units. The Xbox 360 sold 4,770,700 units on the year, just edging out the PS3's 4,334,500 unit haul. The PSP followed with 2,495,900 units and Sony's workhorse PlayStation 2 sold 1,799,900 systems.
In sum, PC, console, and portable software earned $10.5 billion in 2009, down 11 percent from the $11.7 billion brought in during 2008. Both portable and console software sales slid 10 percent on the year. On its own, US PC software sales fell 23 percent to $538 million. Notably, the NPD Group does not track software distributed through non-brick-and-mortar retail channels such as digital distribution.
Though NPD did not provide specific sales figures for individual titles, the stat-tracking firm did list the top 10 PC and non-PC game performers during the year. Topping the non-PC game chart was the Xbox 360 edition of Activision's record-setting Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, with the PlayStation 3 edition scoring an eighth-place finish. Combined, the console versions of the billion-dollar game sold 8.82 million units in the US at retail in November and December.
The only other non-Nintendo title was Microsoft's Halo 3: ODST for the Xbox 360, which placed ninth. Otherwise, Wii software dominated the non-PC chart, as Wii Sports Resort, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wii Fit, and Wii Fit Plus rounded out the top five. (To date, New Super Mario Bros. Wii has sold 4.21 million units domestically.) Mario Kart Wii came in at sixth, with 2008 top-performer Wii Play finishing seventh. Pokemon Platinum for the DS rounded out the non-PC chart in 10th.
EA and Activision dominated the PC sales charts, with The Sims 3 passing World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King to earn the top-seller spot in 2009. EA's The Sims 2 Double Deluxe placed third, with Activision Blizzard's World of Warcraft: Battle Chest, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the original World of Warcraft following. The Sims 3: World Adventures, Spore, and Dragon Age: Origins, all from EA, finished in the respective seventh, eighth, and ninth places, and Sega's Empire: Total War rounded out the chart in 10th.
Top-Selling Hardware - 2009
Xbox 360: 4,770,700
2009 Console and Portable Game Software
1) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360) - Activision
2) Wii Sports Resort (Wii) - Nintendo
3) New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) - Nintendo
4) Wii Fit with Balance Board (Wii) - Nintendo
5) Wii Fit Plus (Wii) - Nintendo
6) Mario Kart Wii (Wii) - Nintendo
7) Wii Play with Wii Remote (Wii) - Nintendo
8) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3) - Activision
9) Halo 3: ODST (360) - Microsoft
10) Pokemon Platinum (DS) - Nintendo
2009 PC Game Software
1) The Sims 3 - Electronic Arts
2) World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Blizzard
3) The Sims 2 Double Deluxe - Electronic Arts
4) World of Warcraft: Battle Chest - Blizzard
5) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - Activision
6) World of Warcraft - Blizzard
7) The Sims 3: World Adventures - Electronic Arts
8) Spore - Electronic Arts
9) Dragon Age: Origins - Electronic Arts
10) Empire: Total War - Sega