Canada posts record year for gaming

Great White North's C$933 million industry-wide sales jump 22 percent over the previous year; NHL 07 tops sales charts.

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Last week the industry-tracking NPD Group released its US retail sales figures for 2006, showing record revenues for non-PC gaming hardware, software, and accessories. The industry fared similarly well north of the border, according to Canadian Press reports on NPD Group's Canadian retail tallies.

"It was a beauty year for gaming, eh?"

For 2006, Canadian stores sold a record C$933 million ($796 million) on gaming, up 22 percent from 2005's C$765 million ($652 million) take. On the hardware side, the Nintendo DS topped all systems with sales of 374,000 units, followed by the PlayStation 2 (327,000 systems sold) and the Xbox 360 (252,000 systems sold). Of the newly released systems, Nintendo sold 84,000 Wiis, while Sony moved 45,000 PS3s. The Wii nearly doubled the PS3's total units sold, but Sony's system beat Nintendo's offering in December sales as both products bumped up against supply constraints.

As for games, the cultural differences between the US and Canada were reflected in the sales charts. According to the Canadian Press report, the best-selling game of the year in Canada was Electronic Arts' NHL 07 on the PS2 instead of the US chart-topper Madden NFL 07 for the PS2. New Super Mario Bros. on the DS and Gears of War on the Xbox 360 took second and third place on both charts, but the Canadian top 10 sported some prior years' releases, like Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and Gran Turismo 4 on the PS2, as well as Super Mario 64 DS.

Combining the NPD data with current population projections, Canadians spent C$28.27 ($24.10) per capita on gaming in 2006, while the average American spent $41.50 on gaming for the year.

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