After a rough financial year for the industry, tracking firm NPD reported today that the U.S. retail console game industry generated $19.66 billion in revenue in 2009, down 8 percent from the record $21.4 billion in 2008.
The group also revealed that December was the industry's best sales month ever
after beating December 2008's revenue by 4 percent.
"Clearly, 2009 was a tough year for consumers and the national economy. However, the bigger picture is one that underscores the industry's strength; 2009 and 2008 were the highest grossing years in our industry's history," said Entertainment Software Association president Michael D. Gallagher in a statement released alongside the NPD result.
"Our industry's structure is solid, and I anticipate a strong 2010 with a pipeline full of highly-anticipated titles," he added.
Every segment of the industry declined in 2009, with the sole exception of portable hardware, whose revenue increased 6 percent year-over-year. Console hardware was down 13 percent, console software was down 10 percent, and portable software was down 10 percent.
Still, as the current console generation settles into maturity, NPD analyst Anita Frazier looks forward to a stronger 2010.
"Hopefully, the big increase in the overall install base of hardware systems will bring good things for software sales in 2010," she wrote, "especially with the incredible line-up of content coming out early in the year."
NPD released a full-year list of the top ten U.S retail console games by units, a list heavily dominated by Nintendo. The publisher was responsible for seven of the top ten titles for the year, six of which were released for Wii.
But the year-end number one seller was the Xbox 360 version of Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
, whose PlayStation 3 counterpart also made the list at number 8.
"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
has become the fourth best-selling game of all time. In fact, 3 of the top 10 games of all time are Call of Duty
games," Frazier pointed out.
The list of the top-selling U.S. game console retail titles in 2009 is as follows:
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
(Infinity Ward, Activision), Xbox 360
2. Wii Sports Resort
3. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
4. Wii Fit
5. Wii Fit Plus
6. Mario Kart Wii
7. Wii Play
8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
(Infinity Ward, Activision), PlayStation 3
9. Halo 3: ODST
(Bungie, Microsoft), Xbox 360
10. Pokemon Platinum Version