Game sales hit record highs

Computer, console software sales reach $7.3 billion in 2004; NPD says 248 million games sold during the calendar year.

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Combined sales of software for PCs and home video game platforms reached $7.3 billion in 2004, according to a report this week from The NPD Group and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The figure represents sales of games only (no accessories or hardware are included in the figure).

According to the data, video game sales reached $5.2 billion (160.7 million units), computer games sales sold $1.1 billion (45 million units), and portable games sold $1 billion (42.3 million units)--totaling 248 million units. These figures compare to 239.3 million games sold and revenues of $7 billion in 2003.

Twelve game titles sold more than 1 million units each in 2004. Fifty games sold more than 500,000 units, and 197 exceeded 250,000 units. Among PC games, two titles sold more than 500,000 units, and 18 broke the 250,000 mark.

Overall, gamers most often purchased action (30.1 percent), sports (17.8 percent), and first- and third-person shooter titles (9.6 percent). Children and family entertainment titles represented 9.5 percent of sales, followed by racing titles (9.4 percent), role-playing games (9 percent), and fighting games (5.4 percent).

Computer gamers skewed differently, buying strategy games (26.9 percent), family and children's entertainment games (20.3 percent) and shooter games (16.3 percent), followed by role-playing games (10 percent), adventure games (5.9 percent), sports games (5.4 percent), and action games (3.9 percent).

"In 2004, video games flew off the shelves...as evidence of the continuing vast popularity of games among consumers of all ages," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA, the trade association representing computer and video game software publishers in North America. "This industry remains strong and poised for renewed double-digit growth over the next five years as we enter a new cycle of video game console launches."

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