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Games eclipse DVD/Blu-ray sales

Global industry-tracking GfK reports entertainment software overtakes home movie sales for first time, with worldwide revenue hitting $32 billion in 2008.


While many sectors tanked last year, 2008 was a banner year for the gaming industry. In the US alone, hardware, software, and accessory sales brought in a record $21 billion in revenue, up 19 percent from the $18 billion the industry brought in during 2007, according to notable stat-tracking firm NPD Group.

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That monumental growth helped propel the gaming industry for the first time past combined DVD and Blu-ray movie sales in terms of worldwide figures, according to research group Media Control GfK International. As reported by Video Business magazine, packaged home entertainment goods on the whole grew 6 percent worldwide in 2008 to $61 billion.

Of that tally, game sales amounted to 53 percent of the total haul, or roughly $32 billion in global revenue. Combined worldwide DVD and Blu-ray sales, which don't include the rental market, fell 6 percent on the year to $29 billion, reports Video Business, with the UK and US' figures recording an 8 percent drop on the year.

According to GfK's data, Warner Home Video's The Dark Knight, for which Heath Ledger received a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod, led the DVD market in 2008 with sales topping 15 million units. The Christian Bale-led Batman film was followed by decidedly lighter fare, as Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s Mamma Mia! logged global sales of 13 million units.

In the US, Nintendo scored a clean sweep at the top of the software charts. For the year, Wii Play with Wii Remote was the top-selling, single-platform title with 5.28 million units, followed by Mario Kart Wii's 5 million units and Wii Fit's 4.53 million copies, as recorded by the NPD Group.

Echoing sentiments expressed by a number of analysts, GfK predicts 2009 will shape up to be another lucrative year for the gaming industry. The firm expects gaming software to continue outpacing the DVD/Blu-ray market, extending its total contribution to 57 percent of all home entertainment sales. Global gaming software sales are projected to rise 12 percent in 2009 to $36 billion, while DVD/Blu-ray sales fall another 4 percent to $27 billion.

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