US game sales up 4% in Dec., Nintendo on top - NPD

Nintendo king of US hardware and software rankings with Wii, New Super Mario Bros.; PS3 edges out 360, Wii Fit Plus, Wii Sports Resort get silver, bronze.


Today, the NPD Group released a somewhat dreary report that revealed overall US game sales decreased 8 percent in 2009. However, it simultaneously revealed that domestic game sales were better than expected during the industry research firm's December reporting period. Last month, NPD found that combined domestic sales of non-PC software, hardware, and accessories increased 4 percent year-over-year to $5.53 billion.

Once again, Nintendo scooped up the most gold coins in December.
Once again, Nintendo scooped up the most gold coins in December.

Part of the reason for the increase was the extended five-week reporting period, which lasted from November 29, 2009, to January 2, 2010. Both game hardware and accessories saw double-digit increases of a respective 16 percent ($2.19 billion) and 15 percent ($760.2 million). The top console for the month was the Wii (3.81 million units), followed by combined sales of all DS handheld models (3.31 million units).

In third place was the PlayStation 3 with 1.36 million units--nearly double the number of consoles Sony sold in December 2008. Right behind the recently discounted $299 machine was the Xbox 360 (1.31 million), which saw the price of both its models--the $199 Arcade and $299 Elite--far below what they were during the last holiday shopping season. Rounding out the hardware chart were the PSP (654,700 units) and the $99, nine-year-old-plus PlayStation 2 (333,200 units).

"There are a lot of hardware records this month," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. "The PS3 realized its biggest month of sales ever, and the first time sales have exceeded 1 million units. The Wii and the DS also had their biggest sales months ever, and in fact the two platforms hold the top two spots in sales of any hardware device in a single month. Overall, it was the biggest month of sales for hardware on both a dollar and unit basis."

Software was the one game-industry sector that saw a decline in December, falling 7 percent to $2.58 billion--and still beating analyst expectations. Nintendo was king of the software chart too, with New Super Mario Bros. Wii selling 2.82 million units--more than the 2.75 million units Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 sold between the 360 (4th, 1.63 million) and the PS3 (5th, 1.12 million). The multiplayer platformer has now sold 4.21 million units domestically--still behind Modern Warfare 2's 8.82-million-unit haul on US consoles.

"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has become the fourth best-selling game of all time," declared Frazier. "In fact, three of the top 10 games of all time are Call of Duty games."

But while Activision's shooter has grossed over $1 billion worldwide since its release in November, December saw holiday shoppers scoop up Nintendo games en masse. Six of the top 10 game-software products for the month came out of the Mario Factory, including Wii Fit Plus (second, 2.41 million units), the Wii MotionPlus pack-in Wii Sports Resort (third, 1.79 million units), the Wii Remote pack-in Wii Play (sixth, 1.01 million units), Mario Kart Wii (seventh, 936,100 units), and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story for the DS (10th, 656,700 units).

Besides Modern Warfare 2, the only other third-party software games in the December software top 10 concerned killing the alive and undead. The Xbox 360 edition of Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed II landed in eighth place with 783,100 units, followed by Electronic Arts and Valve Software's Left 4 Dead 2 and its 728,500 units.

"Six of the top 10 games totaling 20.8 million units for the year were on the Wii platform as compared to four last year at 19 million units," said Frazier. She also noted that "software sales in December were more concentrated among the top games this year than last. This year, 20 percent of sales came from the top [games], whereas last December it was just 12 percent."

Frazier continued, "Madden NFL 10 had a big month selling 1.5 million units across all platforms, besting last December's performance of the '09 game. December's sales made up some of the lost ground realized out the gate when the title came to market in August."


Category / Total / Change
Video Games: $5.53 billion +4%
Video Games Hardware: $2.19 billion +16%
Video Games Software: $2.58 billion -7%
Video Game Accessories: $760.2 million +15%

Hardware Sales (in units sold)
Wii: 3.81 million
Nintendo DS: 3.31 million
PlayStation 3: 1.36 million
Xbox 360: 1.31 million
PlayStation Portable: 654,700
PlayStation 2: 333,200

Game Software (in units sold)
1) New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii, Nintendo) - 2.82 million
2) Wii Fit Plus (Wii, Nintendo) - 2.41 million
3) Wii Sports Resort (Wii, Nintendo) - 1.79 million
4) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360, Activision) - 1.63 million
5) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3, Activision) - 1.12 million
6) Wii Play with Remote (Wii, Nintendo) - 1.01 million
7) Mario Kart Wii with Wheel (Wii, Nintendo) - 936,100
8) Assassin's Creed II (360, Ubisoft) - 783,100
9) Left 4 Dead 2 (360, Electronic Arts) - 728,500
10) Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (DS, Nintendo) - 656,700

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Avatar image for Pangamaster

I want better music in games.... So regardless of console we should all enjoy games otherwise we all be ask picky as me, and dat is a bad game ( the only game i bought this year is Brutal Legend )

Avatar image for GamerofMario1

Nintendo's on top now... wait until this time next year... And to all of the player haters of Wii, to each their own. And a lotta people has said this, but just support your own console.

Avatar image for MSG-Deathscythe

@rageset: here's news for you. millions still own 360s without the jasper chipset. my most diehard 360 friend played with his night vision goggles on release date of mw2 coz his 360 rroded on him for the third time. he bought a ps3 and never looked back. i'm excited about mass effect 2 in a few days, but am i getting it for my 360? no! i'll get it for my pc. why? it's the smart thing to do. so here's my point since you obviously didn't get it. ps3 has better exclusives, you don't need to take a break from playing those multi-platform games to ship your 360 for repairs and for 360 exclusives? with all the great games you can play on a ps3, just wait for them on pc.

Avatar image for j_kizi

ok.... i give up, im gona give the wii its respect... too long hav i been bashin on itand sayn tht it shud not b sellin... but nintendo have been owning this generation from the start... congrats nintendo, u win....NOW PLEASE CAN U GIVE US A CONSOL THAT WILL REMIND US OF BACK IN THE DAYS OF N64!!!! PLEASE!!!!! i miss the awesome games tht system had, i want a next gen graphic nintendo consol tht will have all the N64 greats, like zelda, killer instict, star fox etc.......

Avatar image for RageSet

It's that time of the month again when I come out of the shadows and pounce on unsuspecting fanbois. @Sins-of-Mosin It is hard to argue that the exclusive titles for the Xbox 360 are better than the exclusive titles for the PS3 this year. For the first time since I purchased both, my PS3 has gotten more play than my Xbox 360. Besides GOW2, Fable 2, Halo Wars, Halo ODST, L4D2 (my fav) and a few others, Microsoft was pretty quiet. On the other hand, Sony has several exclusive games that match up nicely or are arguably better, which were KZ2, inFamous, Demon's Souls and Uncharted 2. The point is the PS3's library is no longer a "joke" but a real threat to Microsoft's. As for the Wii being for "casual" or for less skilled gamers...I've purchased the Nintendo Wii and I don't fit in that category. I have also purchased the Xbox 360 and PS3...does that mean I'm a "hardcore" gamer or does it simply mean I am a gamer plain and simple? I resent it when others claim the Nintendo Wii is for casual gamers since those people either never played one or can't afford one in addition to their "console" of choice. Most people would get all three consoles if they could afford to do so. @MSG-Deathscythe I think you need to get some new ammo as with the Jasper chipset, the Xbox 360 is MUCH less prone to hardware failure. Another thing, you might be able to count on GoW3 but Sony has delayed (yet again) GT5 which made me very angry. It was one of the major reasons why I purchased my PS3. We won't see GT5 until sometime late this year or possibly even NEXT year.

Avatar image for rann89

lol, Sins is so silly. If his statements weren't completely wrong, ignorant and biased and he didn't sound like he was 15, you'd almost think he knew what he was talking about. So cute.

Avatar image for MSG-Deathscythe

@sins of mosin: like gaijin87 said, you have a serious math problem so it might be too difficult for you to notice that the 360 had price reductions too. it still lost to the lowly wii, ds and ps3. another reason for this is because 360 owners are getting tired of re-buying a 360 to replace their rrod360. this is going to be 2010's trend: 360 owners are ready to buy the better console, 360 owners are done re-buying an rrod360, 360 owners are nuts if they will pass on playing god of war 3, gran turismo 5 and would take a chance on playing a 100 hour plus game (FFXIII) on a console that would rrod. it looks like another year for the ps3.

Avatar image for Doolz2024

PS2 sold over 330,000? Amazing...

Avatar image for Gaijin87

@Sins-of-Mosin Can you explain the math here a bit more? How can there be 37 more titles in the top 20? You'd need a "top 38" list for this to make any sense.

Avatar image for Sins-of-Mosin

So the PS3 made up some hardware ground but only because of the price reduction. How much of that increase was for movies and for games? Software on the PS3 side is a total joke. The Xbox 360 had 37 more titles in the Top 20. 37! The exclusives for the 360 all sold very well while only one PS3 exclusive sold decently. 2009 again showed the Xbox 360 as the console for gamers. The PS3 as a movie seller and the Wii for casuals and less skilled at games.

Avatar image for steelmouth

wow even at its best month ever ps3 still jst slightly edges out the x360 wic had one of its worst months it would be interesting to see wat 2010 will be lik in sales, the ps3 its most likely to sell well while the x360 will jst be stagnant bt i predict this genration winner will be decided by NATAL, hate it or love it natal is going to break or make ms,even the wii wount stop it if it delivers havlf of wat ms say it will

Avatar image for thetravman

@oneligas I can live with that.

Avatar image for T-razor1

Am I the only one here that is surprised to see the 360 sell 1.31M units? In all honesty I expected the PS3 to beat the 360 for December with the new slim design but I didn't expect that high of a number for the 360. 1.31M units is an excellent number for MS and a testament to how strong the 360 brand is here in the U.S. Also when you combine the 360 hardware numbers with some good software numbers in the top 10 then you can see that the 360 is doing great. While 1.36M units for the ps3 is good it still struggles in the software category. Yes MW2 did good but the Ps3 generally is always lagging behind in software. It's not just about hardware sales. So for those of you saying that the 360 has no future is false. It's actually the opposite if anything. Think about this for a second... The PS3 had a new slim design. It had a reduced price. It had bundles and advertisements all over the place in its strongest marketing campaign by far and only slightly beat out the 360--a console that supposedly nobody wanted since everyone it was assumed already had a 360. Again, the Ps3 numbers are good but it's just funny to read some comments about how Sony is the future when the thing is struggling to sell software lol. If anything the way I see it based on these numbers it's a 360/Wii future if you look at Hardware sales AND Software sales here in the U.S. Anyway It's going to be interesting to see which console has more staying power in the post-holiday months.

Avatar image for mariokart64fan

WII is hard core more games i know cause i own 1 more variety then ps360 combined

Avatar image for Gaijin87

I love these apocalyptic statements about how the Wii is going to kill the gaming industry. Do you seriously believe that? SERIOUSLY??? Nintendo and Sony/Microsoft are going after totally different segments of the gaming community. Having a Wii out there never stopped you from buying an XBox or a PS3, it didn't for me either. If anything it serves as a stepping stone to the more powerful gaming units. Kind of like a gateway drug. Stop worrying about the Wii and continue to support your console of choice by only buying their quality games. Everything will work itself out in the end. None of these companies is going anywhere anytime soon. Stop being so dramatic.

Avatar image for taylormadederek

@ Maxor127 I also own all three well as many I am REALLY unbiased...everyone has bias no matter what. \ \ You are wrong....360 is for better graphics....?? What are you looking at??? PS3 has better graphics... \ \ end to a fairly average if not crappy year......I an stoked for this year though.

Avatar image for Maxor127

Sorry, 360 fanboys, I own all 3 systems, so I'm completely unbiased. 360 is the worst console of the three. The only thing it has going for it is it often has better graphics and a larger online community, and I prefer the 360 controller. But even forgetting the RROD issues, there are too many extra costs associated with it that cause its value to plummet compared to the PS3. The Wii shouldn't even be compared to the 360 and PS3 since it targets a completely different audience so saying the graphics suck or controls suck is retarded. Wii is best for family/party games and certain exclusive titles and maybe even sports titles if it's done well. 360 is good for some multiplayer games and its handful of exclusives, but that's about it. PS3 is better for everything else and a better overall value compared to the 360, unless you're one of those people who has no interest in playing online games or using a hard drive, in which case the 360 would fine. Otherwise, you're a chump for buying one. PC is better than 360 or PS3 though. Better graphics, better controls, usually has mod support, and most people need a PC anyways to surf the web, check emails, write documents, make graphics, etc., so PCs being supposedly more expensive (but a better value) is negligible. These are unbiased, indisputable facts from an experienced gamer.

Avatar image for sman3579

Nintendo is just kicken everyones a$$

Avatar image for JDWolfie

It seems people buy multi-platform games for 360 because of multiplayer I assume.

Avatar image for SonicDBZRacer

It looks like Reggie Fils-Aime won his bet. XD

Avatar image for bloodyrooster

Nintendo!!! Are all of the analysts going to get fired now?

Avatar image for Flint247

Go Nintendo Go Microsoft Go Sony! :P

Avatar image for jedikevin2

I think some folks are just jealous. They wanna feel there system is better then others but since the wii has the overall sales won in hardware and many top 10 software titles, they have to justify why they can't accept it. Look at the below statements LOL.

Avatar image for bluepuppy82

This is a sad day indeed. Gamecube 1.5 is kicking butt.

Avatar image for JackHoleFace00

Like a turd that just won't flush, the Wii continues to pop up in top-ten sales charts with last-gen hardware, years-old games, and an endless array of garbage accessories. I seriously thought people would wake up and the sales would decline in 2009. I was only partially right--it seems the (former?) Wii fanboys have finally conceded that the system has an extreme lack in what matters most--quality gaming. But then I had an actual (real) conversation over the phone with my mom the other day. She bought a Wii for her and my dad. I think she thought I'd think it's cool. Do they have a single other game? I don't know if they know they exist. How long till it starts collecting dust? I give it a month, tops. The Wii is like the modern "Macarena"--dubbed extremely lame long ago by its core audience, but this extra "casual" market unjustly continues to give it legs. And Nintendo can and will simply keep capitalizing on this market until it's completely saturated... and the (quality) gaming industry as we know it is destroyed.

Avatar image for coolEster

i wish sega come back with a new game console

Avatar image for Humorguy_basic

What scares me is every time an article like this appears we see so many fanboys saying 'go Nintendo' or 'go Sony' or 'I told you my machine would be top!' and other similar comments. I see more and more of these type of comments and the more I see, the more I know gaming is in trouble.

Avatar image for thetravman

@Flint247 That is very true, seeing that it's the only company that focuses on games alone. None of this "it only does everything" crap. I like my Ps3 but I still prefer the games that Nintendo comes out with.

Avatar image for XanderZane

tonitorsi Go Sony and Nintendo! They are the future! ************************************************************** You're nuts if you think Microsoft is going anywhere. I could see if the XBox 360 was losing M$ millions over that last 3-4 years, but it's already making Microsoft a profit now and it still has 5 more years to go. We all know the 360 will eventually be $149 or less and with 100's and 100's of games, it's going to sell like crazy at that price. I don't see Sony doing another price cut for at least another 12-16months. The PS3 Slim should start to be profitable at the end of Spring, I doubt Sony wants to screw those profits up, but doing another price cut. The PS3 is so far in the RED it isn't funny. Nitendo and Microsoft is still leading the way this gen.

Avatar image for L30KinG

New super Mario bros. is number one? man nintendo did really good this year

Avatar image for oneligas

i hope all of you morons are going to be happy in ten years when MS quits this race and all you have left is another 20 years of japan dominating the videogame universe without single north american/western console

Avatar image for Flint247

In my opinion, (only my opinion) Nintendo is what gaming is about.

Avatar image for XenoLair

Mario Kart Wii still selling... there's something about Nintendo everyone loves :)

Avatar image for Takeno456

Grandfather Nintendo still knows how to show up the new kids!

Avatar image for SadPSPAddict

Amazing that the PS2 is still selling!!

Avatar image for tonitorsi

Go Sony and Nintendo! They are the future!

Avatar image for suicidalblues

The biggest shock for me was the MW2 numbers. I expected the 360 to have a higher percentage of total sales. 2010 should be interesting as hardware numbers continue to even out between the 2 Goliaths.

Avatar image for Sonicplys

Nintendo back on top, a position Wii love to be in.

Avatar image for Flint247


Avatar image for condelirios

I love that New Super Mario Bros. Wii outsold the highly overrated Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Sony should take notice and lower the price of the PS3 120GB to $149. Bury the competition. PS3s will be everywhere.

Avatar image for Yuck_Too

@enoslives7 It's not hard to understand...these things are toys and should be treated as such...nothing more...nothing less...

Avatar image for tevic

Please, Gamespot, NPD, stop talking all the time about "game rankings" and the top 10 best selling games. It's annoying since it gives no clue at all about the success of the various consoles, though it's always interpreted that way. For the Wii, like 10 games represent a huge proportion of the total games sold, though it's not the case at all with other consoles. The ONLY INDICATOR valid if you want to compare consoles is the total number of $ generated in the sales of software on that console. Actually, using this indicator, HD consoles come before the Wii. This shows how useless is all this talk around the 10 best selling games. The total software sales are crucial for a second reason: usually consoles companies are willingly losing money on consoles sales and recoup their losses on the software sales fees. (Though you could argue that Nintendo is making money on the Wii hardware sales since it is last-gen technology sold at current-gen price).

Avatar image for Cillerboy

This is terrible news! the wii has sold more than the xbox 360 and the ps3 combined! end the console war between ps3 and 360 and focus more on the wii so that more ppl may play games that ppl put work into instead of recycled sh*t again and again. i'm genuine man ppl r lookin at this and sayin, "u know, all this hard work aint payin off so i'm gonna develop a kiddies console and games"

Avatar image for slickvic1990

Nintendo: "I'm laughing straight to the bank with this. hahahahahaaaaaa". but in all seriousness, my biggest surprise is seeing Mario Kart Wii still up there. It came out about 2 years ago, and its STILL beating top recent releases. i can see why though. ive had countless hours of fun with my friends because of that game. Also, for all the fanboys, can this prove any more that the wii DOESNT suck? it may not meet your "nothing is ever good enough for me" tastes, but it caters to its audience very, very well, as evidenced by the numbers. if you took out the time to get past your narrow minded views, you would find some really great games for the wii

Avatar image for capitalthoughts

Middle of the year, Mr. Iwata stated the Wii had stalled. The fanboys couldn't wait to pounce on it. One of them even making a soapbox stating the wii hadn't stalled but hit a brick wall. All of the same old tired arguments were made i.e.; my wii collects dust, it is for kiddies, it is a gimmick, there are no good games. Like always, and proven by NPD, these arguments have no merrit. I feel bad for a lot of these people who claim to be gamers who constantly bash the Wii. A true hardcore gamer likes all systems. Then again, there were a lot of peope during the SNES Vs. Genisis years who believed the Snes was inferior and kiddy, not because they were, but because Sega made that a part of their marketing strategy. It didn't work for Sega, it is clearly not working for Microsoft and Sony.

Avatar image for vegetaali

Nintendo is the winner again.... but I bet PS2 can take on every single console of today... PS2 was the winner and is sill the winner.

Avatar image for Master_Turismo

It's good to see Nintendo is still kicking @ss and taking names. My biggest surprise is that Playstation 2 is still making some sales. Go Sony.

Avatar image for NyGin07

lol the ps2 lives on!!

Avatar image for Humorguy_basic

Funny how Gamespot feel they have to put positive spin in nice yellow text to make sure everyone sees it!

Avatar image for Inconnux

Nintendo once again demolishes the competition... in both hardware and software. Mario reigns supreme! :)