The closely watched monthly game sales report from NPD is bleak today — total U.S. retail sales of video games hardware and software were down 8 percent for the year to $19.66 billion.
But analyst Anita Frazier noted it’s still been a good decade with more than 250 percent growth in sales at retail since 2000.
Through the year, PC game sales were down 23 percent and overall game software sales were down 11 percent, the firm said this afternoon.
From the release:
Aside from portable hardware, which experienced a 6 percent increase in revenue in 2009, all video game categories experienced declines, with the largest decline coming from console hardware (-13 percent). Console software and portable software both experienced declines of 10 percent, while video game accessories experienced a 1 percent decline.
Sales picked up a bit in December, when a 16 percent year over year increase in console sales contributed to an overall 4 percent sales increase.
One of Frazier’s prepared comments:
“December marks just the fourth month of the year where the industry saw an increase over last year. January and February were both up, and since the decline that began in March, only September experienced growth. The big sales this month, particularly on the hardware front, is a positive move for the industry headed into what will hopefully be a recovery year in 2010.”
Nintendo sold the most hardware in the month — 3.81 million Wii consoles and 3.31 million DS handhelds — while Sony edged out Microsoft, selling 1.36 million PlayStation 3 consoles vs. 1.31 million Xbox 360s.
Nintendo also claimed six of the 10 best-selling games during December. Valve’s “Left 4 Dead 2” made the list at No. 9:
For the year, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” on the 360 was the best-selling game. “Halo 3: ODST” came in ninth, and Nintendo titles dominated the rest of the list: