Though reports of low video game sales in the 2005 holiday season, normally a critical time for the entertainment industry, were widespread, the NPD Group's final numbers for North American video game sales in 2005, according to analyst reports, reveal that the industry continued to grow, and broke sales records set in 2002.
Total sales for the year were over $10.5 billion, an improvement of six percent over 2004's $9.9 billion and narrowly edging out 2002's $10.2 billion.
The growth was largely driven through an expanding market for handheld systems. Previously dominated by Nintendo's Game Boy series, 2005 saw the market expand to comfortably support three handhelds: the existing Game Boy Advance, Nintendo's "third pillar" in the Nintendo DS, and Sony's PlayStation Portable. Portable software sales rose to $1.4 billion, a rise of 42 percent over 2004. The Game Boy Advance, due to its longer lifespan and greater install base, still took the majority of the handheld game market, claiming 52 percent of portable game sales.
Console game sales, on the other hand, were down 12 percent on PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox, a fact widely attributed to consumers holding off on the current generation of games in favor of waiting until the next generation of consoles arrives. Microsoft's Xbox 360, the first of the next generation to arrive, sold 600,000 systems in North America, a figure somewhat short even of analysts' scaled-back estimates
of 700,000 to 800,000 systems shipped to date. Microsoft is currently hoping to sell 4.5 to 5.5 million systems by June 30, the end of its fiscal year.
The top 10 sellers for the year were, in order: Madden NFL 06
on PS2, Pokémon Emerald
on GBA, Gran Turismo 4
on PS2, Madden NFL 06
on Xbox, NCAA Football 06
on PS2, Star Wars Battlefront II
on PS2, MVP Baseball 2005
on PS2, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
on PS2, NBA Live 06
on PS2, and Lego Star Wars