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2010 Video Gaming Report: Xbox up, everything else down

Market research firm NPD Group yesterday released its annual review of the video gaming industry and, despite a few notable highlights, it was another down year, with sales falling 6 percent to just over $18.5 billion.

The biggest drop was in gaming hardware, which fell 13 percent compared to 2009. However, there was one notable exception – Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Sales of the 5-year-old device, which is positively middle-aged for a gaming console, were up 42 percent compared with the prior year. In fact, December was the best month ever for Xbox 360 sales, fueled in part by the earlier launch of the Kinect motion sensor.

The Kinect itself became the fastest-selling consumer electronics device ever, after 8 million sensors were sold in its first 60 days on the market.

Despite the success of the Xbox 360, Nintendo is still #1 when it comes to overall sales of gaming devices. Including the Wii console and the various versions of the DS handheld system, Nintendo has sold more game devices than anyone else for five years running. Nintendo is the only one of the big 3 manufacturers with launch plans for 2011: the Nintendo 3DS is expected to hit the stores in March.

As far as the games themselves, NPD estimates total sales will be around $15.5 billion, which is flat when compared with 2009. NPD analysts noted that the methods by which games are purchased are changing dramatically, with options now ranging from physical purchase to downloads on connected devices to in-store digital kiosks. The increasing number of ways in which consumers can acquire gaming content is cited as one of the reasons why the industry has been able to match 2009 volumes.

Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops was the top-selling game across all platforms, managing to sell more than 12 million copies in less than two months. With the exception of Red Dead Redemption from Rockstar Games, every game in the Top 10 was a sequel or prequel of a previously successful title. Showing a nice balance between mature and family games, five of the Top 10 were M-rated games and five were rated “E” for Everyone. Here’s the full list:

Comment by Geekbabe, posted 1/18/2011, 7:15 AM:

Leave it to Microsoft to make the old new again via the Kinect! I'm most impressed with how family friendly Kinect seems to be. Color me hugely impressed also with MS embracing hacks of Kinect allowing developers to adapt it for thngs like the wonderful physical therapy application we saw at CES11/
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