U.S. Video Game Sales for PCs Fell in 2005

Hot on the heels of reporting 2005 was a record year for portable video game sales in the U.S., the NPD Group said today that domestic sales of CD-ROM video games for PCs slumped by 14 percent compared to 2004, to a total of just $953 million. Overall sales volume came to 38 million units, a 19 percent decline from the 47 million units sold in 2004.

The decline came as online gaming grew in popularity, with Blizzard Entertainment’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft selling nearly 1 million units alone. Other big hits were EA’s The Sims 2: University Expansion Pack (574,000 sold), and The Sims 2 (559,000 sold).

NPD points to growing online game play as the major source of decline, noting that an increasing number of games have no so-called “retail box” to be purchased: players instead download necessary software using broadband Internet connections rather than purchasing software and installation materials via retailers. NPD analyst Anita Frazier says that, despite diminishing retail sales in recent years, game-playing on PCs is actually increasing.