Electronic Arts' acclaimed sequel The Sims 3 was the highest-selling PC game at retail in the United States during calendar 2009 according to tracking firm NPD, beating Blizzard's World of Warcraft expansion pack Wrath of the Lich King.
Those top two games were indicative of the rest of the list: together, the WarCraft and The Sims series were responsible for six out of the top ten bestselling retail PC games, including The Sims 3's predecessor The Sims 2: Double Deluxe, which bundles the main game and various expansion packs.
NPD says PC game retail sales were hit even harder than the broader industry in 2009, with revenues down 23 percent year-over-year to $538 million, as compared to a total 11 percent software decline for the industry as a whole. In addition to the general environment of weakened consumer confidence, PC game retail sales likely suffered further from the ongoing growth of digital distribution.
Outside of the two main PC juggernaut franchises, the PC version of Infinity Ward's multiplatform hit Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was the highest-selling game on the list, coming in at number five. And Spore, from original The Sims creator Maxis, ranked at number eight.
Two other core-oriented games, BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins and The Creative Assembly's PC-exclusive Empire: Total War, managed to make the list at numbers nine and 10 respectively.
NPD's list of top-selling retail PC games in the United States during 2009 is as follows:
1. The Sims 3 (Electronic Arts)
2. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (Blizzard, Activision)
3. The Sims 2: Double Deluxe (Electronic Arts)
4. World of Warcraft Battle Chest (Blizzard, Activision)
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Infinity Ward, Activision)
6. World of Warcraft (Blizzard, Activision)
7. The Sims 3: World Adventures (Electronic Arts)
8. Spore (Maxis, Electronic Arts)
9. Dragon Age: Origins (BioWare, Electronic Arts)
10. Empire: Total War (The Creative Assembly, Sega)