Video game sales declined 8 percent in 2009

A new report published by a consortium of industry analysts has confirmed that video game sales declined at least 8 percent in 2009.

The report – which was formulated by Top Global Market, The NPD Group, GfK Chart-Track Limited and Enterbrain – also noted that game sales from January-December totaled 379.3 million units.

Perhaps not unexpectedly, the decline was noticeably modest in Japan, which experienced a slight, two percent decrease in software units, a five percent slowdown in console software and a one percent decline in portable game software.

In sharp contrast, the US and UK saw respective declines of 7 and 14 percent. 

In the US, console and portable software posted declines of 7 and 8 percent, while UK units recorded a decrease of 6 and 25 percent.

However, NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier emphasized that the industry still managed to “boast” significant volumes that were “unseen” before 2008.

“With the huge investment needed to produce software for this generation’s consoles, many publishers talk about releasing fewer titles each year, which will allow their teams to better focus on maximizing the success of each title,” explained Frazier.

“The theory is that this will produce more high- quality games resulting in better sales. [Nevertheless], year-end data from 2009 shows us that the number of titles entering the market is still growing with 778 new titles released in 2009, up from the 764 in 2008.”

Frazier added that the industry has observed “some evidence” of a converse relationship between the number of titles launched and the average unit sales of a title.

“When looking back at the past seven years, we see that 2004 had the lowest number of titles launched, yet the highest average unit sales. On the other hand, 2009 had the most titles launched and average unit sales were lower than they’ve been since 2005.”

2009 Top 5 Video Game Titles

2009 Titles Publisher Total US Retail    
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Activision 11.86mil 8.82mil    
Wii Sports Resort Nintendo 7.57mil 4.54mil    
New Super Mario Bros. Wii Nintendo 7.41mil 4.23mil    
Wii Fit Plus Nintendo 5.80mil 3.53mil    
Wii Fit Nintendo 5.44mil 3.60mil    

Source: Top Global Markets Report / Retail Tracking Service