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NPD Shows Retail Drop For PC Games In 2005

NPD Shows Retail Drop For PC Games In 2005

January 18, 2006 | By Simon Carless

January 18, 2006 | By Simon Carless
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More: Console/PC

U.S. video game sales chart compiler NPD Group has revealed 2005 U.S. retail sales of PC game software, and has announced that sales figures reached $953 million, a 14 percent decrease compared to the $1.1 billion generated in 2004.

According to the NPD, PC game software unit sales were down 19 percent for the year, totaling 38 million units vs. 47 million units sold in 2004, a major decrease. However, this figure did not take into account digital downloads of casual, MMO, or other titles, a rapidly increasing PC market.

Overall, the year's top seller for PC was, unsurprisingly, Blizzard and Vivendi's massive MMO hit World Of Warcraft, which recently announced 5 million worldwide subscribers, though obviously, not all of these were in the North American territory. (Blizzard has not provided recent updates on the country break-out of its subscriber base.)

Also doing excellently was EA's The Sims 2 and its two associated expansions, and The Sims franchise collectively took up four of the top ten spots. The rest of the top ten is made up of a mixture of the mass-market accessible games, such as Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, with the more 'hardcore' shooter and MMO titles such as Guild Wars and Battlefield 2.

The full top-ten selling titles by unit sales (with average retail price also listed) for the North American PC game retail market in 2005 was as follows:

1. World Of Warcraft (Vivendi Universal) - $47
2. The Sims 2: University Expansion Pack (Electronic Arts) - $33
3. The Sims 2 (Electronic Arts) - $45
4. Guild Wars (NCSoft) - $48
5. Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 (Atari) - $30
6. Battlefield 2 (Electronic Arts) - $48
7. The Sims 2: Nightlife Expansion Pack (Electronic Arts) - $32
8. Age Of Empires III (Microsoft) - $47
9. The Sims Deluxe (Electronic Arts) - $19
10. Call Of Duty 2 (Activision) - $46

As a result of this skewing away from retail, NPD will be changing its PC chart calculation in the near future, as NPD's industry analyst Anita Frazier commented: "NPD will be launching its new definition of the U.S. PC game market this spring which will include a combination of sales from retail, downloads, and both casual and MMO subscription revenues. We expect this will add significant dollars to the PC game market size."

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