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Nintendo Rules 2008, Microsoft Strong Second, Sony Plays Catch-up

by Rainier on Jan. 16, 2009 @ 3:31 a.m. PST

According to the NPD Group's December sales numbers, the industry grew 9%, making for an overall 19% growth in 2008 (amounting to $21.3 billion). Not surprisingly 2008's big winners are Nintendo's Wii (10.2 million units) and NDS (9.9 mill. units), followed by Microsoft's X360 (4.7 mill. units) and Sony's PS3 (3.6 mill. units). Software-wise, Wii Play took the crown with over 5 million copies sold in 2008, followed by Mario Kart Wii, Wii Fit, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, all selling more than 4 million copies. GTA IV (X360, 4.2 mill. copies), Call of Duty: World at War (X360, 2.7 mill. copies) and Gears of War 2 (X360, 2.3 mill. units) are next, with the only PS3 title in the top 10 being GTA IV with 1.8 mill. copies sold.

2008 total U.S. hardware sales:

  1. Wii - 10,224,400
  2. Nintendo DS - 9,951,500
  3. Xbox 360 - 4,735,200
  4. PSP - 3,829,300
  5. PlayStation 3 - 3,685,000
  6. PlayStation 2 - 2,106,100

Lifetime U.S. hardware sales (as of Dec. 2008):

  1. PlayStation 2 - 43.22 million
  2. Nintendo DS - 27.60 million
  3. Wii - 17.60 million
  4. PSP 14.30 million
  5. Xbox 360 - 13.89 million
  6. PlayStation 3 - 6.94 million

2008's best-selling console games at U.S. retailers:

  1. Wii Play (Nintendo, Wii) - 5.28 million units
  2. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo, Wii) - 5 million units
  3. Wii Fit (Nintendo, Wii) - 4.53 million units
  4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Nintendo, Wii) - 4.17 million units
  5. Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar North, Xbox 360) - 3.29 million units*
  6. Call of Duty: World at War (Treyarch, Xbox 360) - 2.75 million units*
  7. Gears of War 2 (Epic, Xbox 360) - 2.31 million units*
  8. Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar North, PS3) - 1.89 million units*
  9. Madden NFL 09 (EA Tiburon, Xbox 360) - 1.87 million units
  10. Mario Kart DS (Nintendo, DS) - 1.65 million units

(*includes Collectors Edition, Game Of The Year, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

The U.S. console sales for Dec. 2008:

  1. DS - 3.04 million
  2. Wii - 2.15 million
  3. Xbox 360 - 1.44 million
  4. PSP - 1.02 million
  5. PlayStation 3 - 726,000
  6. PlayStation 2 - 410,000

Top-selling console titles in Dec. 2008:

  1. Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii) - 1.46 million units
  2. Call of Duty: World at War (X360) - 1.33 million units
  3. Wii Fit w/ Balance Board (Wii) - 999,000 units
  4. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) - 979,000 units
  5. Guitar Hero: World Tour (X360) - 850,000 units
  6. Gears of War 2 (X360) - 745,000 units
  7. Left 4 Dead (X360) - 629,000 units
  8. Mario Kart (Wii) - 540,000 units
  9. Call of Duty: World at War (PS3) - 533,000 units
  10. Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii) - 497,000 units

Microsoft spin:

Despite a decline in overall consumer spending during the holidays, video games continued to shine as a bright spot, with Xbox 360 registering record-setting numbers in December, selling 1.4 million consoles in the U.S. (December NPD data).

Not only did the Xbox 360 see its weekly sales run rate increase 38 percent compared to November, it also continued to outperform the PS3 by two-to-one for the third month in a row (December NPD data).

With third-party game sales for Xbox 360 increasing from $298 million in November to $504 million in December, it’s no surprise that Xbox 360 has generated more life-to-date dollars at retail for third-party publishers than the PS3 and Wii combined. “Gears of War 2,” “Call of Duty: World at War,” “Grand Theft Auto IV,” “Madden NFL 09,” “Left 4 Dead” and the critically acclaimed “Fable II” were some of the hottest Xbox 360 games in 2008. Three Xbox 360 games appeared on the top 10 list in December, including “Call of Duty: World at War,” “Left 4 Dead” and “Gears of War 2.” (December NPD data)

“Our goal for 2008 was to reach new audiences by bringing ground-breaking games and entertainment to Xbox 360,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Looking forward, new waves of innovation will extend our position as the global leader in interactive entertainment.”

As announced by Microsoft last week, Xbox LIVE continues to experience rapid growth; online transactions over Xbox LIVE grew 84 percent in 2008 over 2007. More than 40 million downloads took place through the LIVE Marketplace in December alone (Microsoft internal data). With consumer appetite for immediate online entertainment growing exponentially, Xbox LIVE is poised for another great year in 2009.

Nintendo spin:

Before 2008, no video game system had ever been purchased by ten million Americans in a single year. But according to independent sales data released today by the NPD Group, the Wii™ console from Nintendo did just that, even during these economic times, with 2008 unit sales of 10.17 million. The Nintendo DS™ portable handheld system came in a close second, with 2008 unit sales of 9.95 million. Each of them broke the previous yearly unit sales record set in 2007 by Nintendo DS with sales of 8.52 million.

Consequently, Wii represented 55% of all next generation home console sales in 2008, while Nintendo DS claimed 72% of all portable system sales in 2008.

“Our type of entertainment has now moved to the point where there is no longer a question that if you offer consumers an expanded definition of what a video game can be, and deliver that idea with quality and affordability in mind, millions of new people will start playing video games,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “Concepts like Wii Fit, Guitar Hero, and Rock Band never would have seemed feasible just a few years ago, and now they’re driving growth for our the entire industry.”

Industry annual revenues jumped 19% in 2008 over 2007, and Nintendo products were responsible for 99% of those additional retail dollars.

Sony spin:

The PlayStation brand delivered continued sales momentum throughout 2008 with a total of 3.6 million PS3 units sold in the U.S. by the end of 2008, an increase of 40% from the previous year. In December, 726,005 PS3 hardware units were sold, representing an increase of 92% from November.

PS3 also generated one of its strongest months in software unit sales in the U.S., with almost 6 million units sold in December. For the calendar year, PS3 software unit sales increased 116%.

With more than 17 million PlayStation Network users worldwide and a total of 330 million pieces of content downloaded to date, the PlayStation Network continued to be a destination of choice during the holidays for interactive entertainment content.

PSP and the Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters PSP Entertainment Pack continued to be popular choices in the U.S. for on-the-go entertainment in December, with more than 1 million hardware units sold, an increase of 143% from November. In December, more than 3.7 million software units were sold for PSP, including popular hits such as Madden NFL 09, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 and Lego Batman: The Videogame.

PS2 and the LEGO Batman: The Videogame PS2 Entertainment Pack delivered another month of solid sales in December, with a 99% increase in hardware units and 124% lift in software units from the previous month.

“The PlayStation brand has had a solid calendar year with total PS3 hardware sales up 40% and total PS3 software sales up 115%. We remain confident in our momentum into 2009 as we continue to deliver to our consumers the best entertainment content and technology out there. And we delivered on that promise this past year with one of the best software line-ups in the industry, a dramatically expanded PlayStation Network with the launch of the video delivery service and the beta of PlayStation Home, as well as extended hardware offerings with the PSP 3000 and Uncharted 160GB PS3 bundle. We also hit a remarkable milestone for the PlayStation 2 platform in North America with 50 million units sold. It’s truly an amazing testament to the power and legacy of our brand.”

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