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Video Game Sales Break Records in December

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New sales figures from market research firm NPD show the video game industry did huge business in December 2009, breaking industry records to log the biggest sales month every. However, even the record-breaking December was not enough to bring overall 2009 sales out of the doldrums: on the whole, the industry’s figures were still down 8 percent compared to 2009, chalking up about $!9.66 billion in sales compared to $21.4 billion in 2008.

Sales of game software were down across the board for the year, with console game sales totaling about $10.5 billion (an 11 percent decline compared to 2008) and PC software dropping to $538 million, a 23 percent decline compared to 2008.

For the month of December, the Nintendo Wii absolutely dominated console sales, moving some 3.81 million units—that’s almost double the 2.15 million Wii systems that were sold in December 2008. Sony sold 1.36 million PlayStation 3 consoles and 333,000 PlayStation 2 consoles during the month, while Microsoft managed to sell 1.31 million Xbox 360 systems during the month. Amongst portable systems, the Nintendo DS family moved 3.31 million units during December, while the PlayStation Portable managed to sell 655,000 units. The Wii’s sales performance may forestall talk that the Wii’s bubble of popularity had burst more than three years after the console’s introduction; the month also marks the first time Sony’s PS3 moved more than a million units in a month.

The Wii also took the top three sales slots for software, with New Super Market Bros., Wii Fit Plus, and Wii Sports Resort dominating the top of the charts. However, Modern Warfare 2 for Xbox 360 and PS3 took the number four and five positions, respectively, and the title is now the fourth best-selling game of all time—and it’s worth nothing that three of the ten top-selling all-time games are Call of Duty titles.

The game industry is bullish that the strong December 2009 performance bodes good things for 2010. “This is a very strong way to transition into 2010,” said the ESA’s president and CEO Michael D. Gallagher, in a statement. “I anticipate these solid sales numbers to continue upward through 2010 with a pipeline full of highly-anticipated titles.”

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