NPD: 2007 game earnings nearly $18 billion, Halo 3 sells 4.82 million

Annual tally sees non-PC revenue rise 43 percent to new record; massive Wii, 360, PS3 sales see December top $4.8 billion; Call of Duty 4, Wii Play, Super Mario Galaxy among top 10 games of last year.

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Following over two weeks of anticipation and prognostication, the annual game-industry earnings figures from The NPD Group are in. As widely predicted, 2007 was a record year for the industry, with $17.94 billion of non-PC hardware, software, and accessories sold in the US at retail. (NPD does not include PC game sales, nor does it include online revenue.) The number was a 43 percent increase over 2006's none-too-shabby tally, and set yet another record for the industry.

"The US games industry rose an astounding 43 percent in 2007 bolstered by strong performance in every product category," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "While hardware sales realized the greatest percentage growth over 2006 due to the closely scrutinized console hardware transition, each category under the video games industry umbrella reached their own personal bests in terms of annual sales."

Indeed, 2007 was the first full year which saw all three of the one-time next-generation consoles on the market at the same time. The year saw 2.56 million PlayStation 3s sold domestically, bringing its lifetime-to-date total to 3.25 million units. Its older brother, the PlayStation 2, sold 3.97 million units to hit 41.12 million units LTD, while its smaller sibling, the PlayStation Portable (PSP), sold 3.82 million units during the year, moving 10.47 million units since its March 2005 debut.

Unsurprisingly, the year's most popular console was the Nintendo Wii. With 6.29 million units sold domestically in 2007, the console's cheaper price tag and mass-market strategy clearly paid off, bringing its US lifetime sales to 7.38 million. While impressive, that number is a mere 41 percent of the DS's massive 17.65-million-unit lifetime total, 8.50 million of which were sold in 2007--making it the undisputed top non-PC platform.

As for the Xbox 360, it sold 4.62 million units during the year, bringing the two-year-old console's US LTD total to 9.15 million units. Though it was hit by a billion-dollar hardware failure controversy, the console ended the year on a high note, selling 1.26 million units in December alone, just behind the Wii's 1.35 million-unit take for the month. However, the recently discounted PlayStation 3 also had a solid month, falling just 2,400 units short of the 800,000-unit mark.

"Both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 realized strong month-over-month hardware sales increases," surmised Frazier. "The 360 in particular seems to have benefitted from a killer slate of hardware-acquisition-driving content including COD4, Assassin's Creed, and Halo 3. ... [But] Nintendo has certainly been the belle of the hardware ball this year, capturing the top two spots for hardware units sales for the year with the DS followed by the Wii."

On the software side, it should come as little surprise that the year's best-selling game was Halo 3. With 4.82 million units sold during the year (742,000 in December), the game boasts a staggering 53 percent attach rate. Boasting a near-30 percent attach rate is the 360 edition of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which had 3.04 million in annual sales. Infinity Ward and Activision's first foray into 21st century combat was also December's top game with 1.47 million units. (The PS3 version of the game did not crack the top 10.) The only other 360 game to make NPD's 2007 top 10 was Assassin's Creed with 1.87 million units, 893,700 which were sold in December.

The Wii was also well-represented in NPD's top 10 games of the year. In second place was the tepidly reviewed Wii Play, which sold 4.12 million units during the year (1.08 million in December) thanks in large part to being bundled with a Wii Remote. In fifth place was GameSpot's Game of the Year Super Mario Galaxy, whose 2.52-million-unit-year-end haul was boosted by a 1.4-million-unit December. Pokémon Diamond was sixth with 2.48 million units, and Mario Party 8 placed 10th with 1.82 million. (Neither game was in the top 10 titles of December.)

Two PlayStation titles made NPD's 2007 best-seller list, Guitar Hero III (2.72 million annual,1.25 million December) and Guitar Hero II (1.89 million annual, December figures unavailable). However, both were for the PS2, with no PS3 or PSP games climbing into the top 10.

"If Halo 3 was the game of the year (in terms of sales), one has to recognize the tremendous success of the Guitar Hero franchise," said Frazier. "Guitar Hero games sold over $820 million at US retail, which is a record for any single franchise in any one year."

THE NPD GROUP's 2007 US GAME INDUSTRY SALES

Category / Total / Change
Video Games: $17.94 billion +43%
Video Games Hardware: $7.04 billion +54%
Console Hardware: $5.12 billion +73%
Portable Game Hardware: $1.92 billion +19%
Video Games Software: $8.64 billion +34%
Console Software: $6.64 billion +39%
Portable Game Software: $2.00 billion +18%
Video Game Accessories: $2.26 billion +52%

Hardware Sales (in units sold)
Nintendo DS: 8.50 million (17.65 million LTD)
Wii: 6.29 million (7.38 million LTD)
Xbox 360: 4.62 million (9.15 million LTD)
PlayStation 2: 3.97 million (41.12 million LTD)
PlayStation Portable: 3.82 million (10.47 million LTD)
PlayStation 3: 2.56 million (3.25 million LTD)

Game Software (in units sold)
1) Halo 3 (360, Microsoft) - 4.82 million
2) Wii Play with Wii Remote (Wii, Nintendo) - 4.12 million
3) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (360, Activision) - 3.04 million
4) Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (PS2, Activision) - 2.72 million
5) Super Mario Galaxy (Wii, Nintendo) - 2.52 million
6) Pokémon Diamond (DS, Nintendo) - 2.48 million
7) Madden NFL 08 (PS2, Electronic Arts) - 1.9 million
8) Guitar Hero II (PS2, Activision) - 1.89 million
9) Assassin's Creed (360, Ubisoft) - 1.87 million
10) Mario Party 8 (Wii, Nintendo) - 1.82 million

THE NPD GROUP's DECEMBER 2007 US GAME INDUSTRY SALES

Category / Total / Change
Video Games: $4.82 billion +28%
Video Games Hardware: $1.83 billion +17%
Console Hardware $1.3 billion: +21%
Portable Game Hardware: $525,700 +7%
Video Games Software: $2.37 billion +36%
Console Software $1.8 billion: +47%
Portable Game Software: $574,900 +11%
Video Game Accessories: $621,600 +37%

Hardware Sales (in units sold)
Nintendo DS: 2.47 million
Wii: 1.35 million
Xbox 360: 1.26 million
PlayStation 2: 1.1 million
PlayStation Portable: 1.06 million
PlayStation 3: 797,600

Game Software (in units sold)
1) Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat (360, Activision) - 1.47 million
2) Super Mario Galaxy (Wii, Nintendo) - 1.40 million
3) Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (PS2, Activision) - 1.25 million
4) Wii Play with Wii Remote (Wii, Nintendo) - 1.08 million
5) Assassin's Creed (360, Ubisoft) - 893,700
6) Halo 3 (360, Microsoft) - 742,700
7) Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day (DS, Nintendo) - 659,500
8) Madden NFL 08 (PS2, Electronic Arts) - 655,200
9) Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (360, Activision) - 624,600
10) Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (Wii, Sega) - 613,000

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