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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

January 28, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Video game sales soaring, mostly family-friendly games

No wonder everyone’s broke: They spent all their money on video games.

Sales rose to $21 billion in 2008, up 23 percent over 2007, according to NPD Group data released today by the Entertainment Software Association.

That includes $5 billion sold in December, the industry’s biggest month ever — roughly the same as the $5.1 billion sales recorded in all of 1997.

More than half the total — $11.7 billion — was entertainment software.

The stats also show how dominant blockbusters have become, the top 20 games accounting for 15 percent of the total sales, NPD found.

Yet the mix of games sold may be surprising. Based on the marketing buzz around Triple A titles, you’d think most people were buying violent, mature-rated shooters. Actually mature rated games accounted for 16 percent of sales.

Family-friendly games continue to be the biggest sellers. More than half of sales were games rated “Everyone 10-plus” and teen-rated “T” games had a 27 percent share. “Family entertainment” was also the most popular genre, with 19 percent of sales.

NPD research found that 189 million consoles were sold for a total of $8.9 billion, 29.1 million PC games were sold for $701 million, and portable software sales were at 79.5 million units totaling $2.1 billion. Retailers sold about 297.6 million computer and video games altogether, the firm said.

Comments | Topics: Games & entertainment, Microsoft, Nintendo

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