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About Judy

As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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Video Game Sales In 2004 Not as Low as Expected

by Judy on Jan. 18, 2005 @ 11:40 a.m. PST

According to The NPD Group Annual 2004 U.S. retail sales of video games, which includes portable and console hardware, software and accessories, saw sales of over $9.9 billion -- a decline of less than one percent when compared to $10 billion in Annual 2003. However, while dollar sales were down slightly, total industry unit sales were up 4 percent over the same period last year.

Sales remained strong, thanks in large part to the console software, portable game software and portable game hardware categories, which saw dollar sales percentage increases of 7 percent, 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively. For the first time ever, sales of portable software titles broke the $1 billion mark. Total software sales also continued to set new records, with sales exceeding $6.2 billion, an increase of 8 percent in overall sales when compared to $5.8 billion in 2003. For 2004, console software, portable game software and portable game hardware also experienced healthy unit sales increases of 8 percent, 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

As a result of the widely-publicized hardware inventory shortages over the 2004 holiday season, the console hardware category saw the largest percentage reduction, with a 27 percent decline in dollar volume and a 16 percent decrease in unit volume in 2004. However, portable hardware dollar volume was up 10 percent in 2004 to over $828 million, from $751 million in 2003.

"This year's positive sales results clearly reveal the increasing appeal of video game playing as a leisure time activity among the largest consumer base in the history of the industry," said Anita Frazier, Entertainment Industry Analyst, The NPD Group. "The successful launches of some of the highest quality and best marketed titles ever produced, drops in price points for hardware, as well as the introduction of new hardware systems all helped make 2004 another stellar year for the video games industry."

"The 2004 sales figures are impressive, especially as we enter the twilight of this hardware cycle, and more significantly, looking ahead, the video game industry shows no signs of slowing down," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. "No other entertainment industry has posted the sustained growth over the last decade generated by the video game sector, and given the technological and creative advances ahead, all signs point to surging growth and more record sales for many years to come."

Annual 2004 Top 10 Video Game Titles, Ranked By Units Sold

RANK TITLE PLATFORM PUBLISHER RELEASE DATE ARP 1 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas PS2 Take II Interactive 10/04 $49 2 Halo 2* Xbox Microsoft 11/04 $52 3 Madden NFL 2005* PS2 Electronic Arts 8/04 $49 4 ESPN NFL 2K5 PS2 Take II Interactive 7/04 $19 5 Need For Speed: Underground 2 PS2 Electronic Arts 11/04 $48 6 Pokemon Fire Red w/ Adapter GBA Nintendo of America 9/04 $32 7 NBA Live 2005 PS2 Electronic Arts 9/04 $33 8 Spider-Man: The Movie 2 PS2 Activision 6/04 $43 9 Halo Xbox Microsoft 11/01 $29 10 ESPN NFL 2K5 Xbox Take II Interactive 7/04 $19

* Includes Limited & Collector's Editions

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