PC gaming stops slide in 2006

NPD numbers show slight growth in US retail sales of PC games for the year, figures still down from 2004.

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Earlier this month, the industry-tracking NPD Group released its 2006 US retail sales tally for the gaming hardware, software, and accessory market. The total was $12.5 billion, a record year for the industry, but that number didn't include the PC gaming market. This week the NPD Group released its year-end PC software sales figures, and while the market did better than in the previous year, it still fell short of record-breaking status.

Retail PC sales for the year added up to $970 million, according to the NPD Group, less than two percent more than the $953 million it reported for 2005. However, the growth still has not made up ground the US retail PC market lost after posting $1.1 billion in revenues for 2004. It should be noted that all these figures are accounting only for boxed, retail sales of PC game software, and do not take into account money generated through subscription fees, micropayments, or digital distribution of games.

"It's refreshing to see an increase in retail sales of PC games after having experienced a few years of declines," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. "With revenues from digital downloads and subscriptions on the rise as well, the PC games segment of the industry remains healthy."

Best-selling PC Games of 2006, by units sold

1. World of Warcraft--Vivendi Games
2. The Sims 2--Electronic Arts
3. The Sims 2: Open For Business Expansion Pack--Electronic Arts
4. Star Wars: Empire At War--LucasArts
5. The Sims 2: Pets Expansion Pack--Electronic Arts
6. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion--Take-Two Interactive
7. Age of Empires III--Microsoft
8. The Sims 2: Family Fun Stuff Expansion Pack--Electronic Arts
9. Civilization IV--Take-Two Interactive
10. The Sims 2: Nightlife Expansion Pack--Electronic Arts

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