The NPD Group has yet to provide full revenue figures for what's sure to be a down year for the U.S. retail video game industry, but the UK saw a 17.9 percent year over year decrease, according to data from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association.
2009 UK game industry revenue came in at £3.311 billion ($5.297 billion) as compared with 2008's £4.034 billion ($6.454 billion), ELSPA said, citing GfK Chart-Track.
But 2009 was still the second-best year ever for the industry -- even facing an extremely tough comparison to record-holding 2008, and a globally-sagging economy, ELSPA stressed. Many U.S. analysts have pointed to similar factors, cautioning against focusing too much on a single year of comparisons.
"We cannot forget that 2009 saw the UK economy in the grip of one of the most severe recessions of recent times, which has naturally impacted on the entertainment industry," said ELSPA director general Mike Rawlinson in a statement. "It is not surprising that the UK videogames industry has weathered the economic storm so well, as games represent great value for money."
In the UK, 2008 had been up 23 percent over approximate revenues of £3.28 billion ($5.25 billion) in 2007, meaning 2009's results came out just slightly ahead of that year's. (Rawlinson added that the lack of "such explosive growth as in 2008" is "a sure sign that the market is coming of age.")
There were still some year-over-year bright spots. While console software overall was down, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 software revenue grew, with Xbox 360 software sales growing by 4 percent to £459 million ($734 million) and becoming the region's strongest software performer in revenue -- but the Wii kept that crown in terms of straight game unit sales.
On the hardware side, PlayStation 3 was the only major system to increase its yearly rate of sales, nudging up 2 percent, but the Wii was still the year's strongest-selling system overall.