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December 2008 NPD US Game Hardware/Software Sales Figures

This console generation in the United States is all about Nintendo for the casual / mainstream gamers, and Microsoft for the hardcore gamers. Here are the latest NPD figures for December 2008.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=349076

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Care of NPD Group

PS2 410K
PS3 726K
PSP 1.02M
X360 1.44M
Wii 2.15M
DS 3.04M

WII PLAY W/ REMOTE 1.46M
360 CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR 1.33M*
WII FIT W/ BALANCE BOARD 999K
WII MARIO KART W/ WHEEL 878K
WII GUITAR HERO WORLD TOUR 859K*
360 GEARS OF WAR 2 745K*
360 LEFT 4 DEAD 629K
NDS MARIO KART 540K
PS3 CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR 533K
WII ANIMAL CROSSING: CITY FOLK 497K*

*Includes Collector's, Limited, Legendary, and Bundled Editions

Top selling games of 2008

WII PLAY W/ REMOTE 5.28M
WII MARIO KART W/ WHEEL 5.00M
WII FIT W/ BALANCE BOARD 4.53M
WII SUPER SMASH BROS: BRAWL 4.17M
360 GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 3.29M*
360 CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR 2.75M*
360 GEARS OF WAR 2 2.31M*
PS3 GRAND THEFT AUTO IV 1.89M*
360 MADDEN NFL 09 1.87M*
NDS MARIO KART 1.65M

*Includes Collector's, Limited, Legendary, and Bundled Editions

Overall

"While industry growth has not continued at the blistering pace we saw during the second and third quarters, December's 9% increase over last December brings the year in 19% ahead of last year, and sets a new record for total industry sales."

"This month marks the first time that industry revenue has topped $5B in any single month. In 1997, annual revenues were $5.1B, and now a single month has realized that level of sales."

"We get asked a lot why there are so many layoffs and studio closings occuring in the industry when it has just realized another record-breaking year. This is not a case of the rising tide lifting all boats. The increasees are not being enjoyed equally by all manufacturers and publishers."

Hardware

"The NDS captures the top-spot for hardware sales this month, marking the first time that any hardware system has sold in excess of 3 million units in any single month."

"The record for single-month console system sales still belongs to the PS2 which sold 2.7 million units in December 2002."

"38 months into this generation of hardware, the three new systems have sold a combined 38.2 million units, whereas at the same point last generation, in December 2003, the three systems had sold 36.9 million units. Factoring in the continued strong sales of the PS2 even after the new systems were released, 52 million systems have sold at retail since November '05."

Software

"Software sales reached nearly $11B, which is more than total industry revenues were in 2005."

"While some have wondered if the popularity of Guitar Hero and Rock Band is waning, both properties realized their best month yet in dollar sales, and combined represent 16% of total software dollar sales this month."

"The variety of content on the top 10 list shows just how viable non-traditional content has become. Not only can these games succeed, they can end up on the top 10 list for the year."

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The NPD Group releases detailed statistics on game hardware/software sales every month in the United States. Supposedly these numbers are based on sold hardware/games, not shipping figures (which are usually indicated in the game companies' press releases). Note that while these facts and figures are respected by almost everyone in the game industry, they are not absolute, considering that there are some retail outlets (like Wal-mart, etc) who do not post their sales figures for games hardware/software with the NPD Group.

Nonetheless, it's an interesting set of statistics to follow to truly understand the current trend with the gaming industry in the United States---it answers the basic questions:

Which game console is successful financially, in comparison with the rest?

Which types of games do people in the United States (the largest market for video games) prefer to play?

Are any of the consoles experiencing any type of sales growth or decline (meaning, are the sales tactics they've employed prior to that month actually working in capturing their intended market?)

I'm sure that people who work in the game industry pay attention to these numbers, if only to know where the US game industry is headed, and which platforms are the most (and least) risky to support with their development efforts.

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