System and game sales for December 2009 in the USA

Wii shatters all-time sales records in December of 2009!
December’s American video game sales data from the NPD is in, and like almost any month the past year, it shows an unchanged result: A Nintendo system on top, this time the Wii and DSi outsold everybody else by an unparalleled margin. In fact Wii now holds the record for biggest sales ever in a single month at 3.8 million units.

NPD analyst, Anita Frazier, had this to say about hardware sales: “There are a lot of hardware records this month. The PS3 realized it’s biggest month of sales ever, and the first time sales have exceeded 1 million units. The Wii and the DS also had their biggest sales months ever, and in fact the two platforms hold the top two spots in sales of any hardware device in a single month. Overall, it was the biggest month of sales for hardware on both a dollar and unit basis. This current generation of console hardware has outsold the last by more than 9 million units during the first 50 months in the market. Hopefully, the big increase in the overall install base of hardware systems will bring good things for software sales in 2010, especially with the incredible line-up of content coming out early in the year.”

Video game hardware overview:

1. Nintendo Wii — 3.81 million
2. Nintendo DS — 3.3 million
3. PlayStation 3 — 1.36 million
4. Xbox 360 — 1.31 million
5. PlayStation Portable — 654,700
6. PlayStation 2 — 333,200

“The best-selling game of the month was New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which also captures the third spot on the annual top 10 list for 2009. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has become the fourth best-selling game of all time. In fact, 3 of the top 10 games of all time are Call of Duty games. The music/dance genre was the best-selling genre for the month and second best for the year behind first-person shooters. Madden NFL 10 had a big month selling 1.5 million units across all platforms, besting last December’s performance of the ’09 game. December’s sales made up some of the lost ground realized out the gate when the title came to market in August. Software sales in December were more concentrated among the top games this year than last. This year, 20% of sales came from the top SKU’s, whereas last December it was just 12%. 6 of the top 10 games totaling 20.8 million units for the year were on the Wii platform as compared to 4 last year at 19 million units.”

Video game software overview top 10:

New Super Mario Bros. Wii box artwork. Best-selling game of December 2009
1. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) – 2.82 million
2. Wii Fit Plus* (Wii) – 2.41 million
3. Wii Sports Resort w/Wii MotionPlus* (Wii) – 1.79 million
4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2* (Xbox 360) – 1.63 million
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2* (PS3) – 1.12 million
6. Wii Play w/Remote (Wii) – 1.01 million
7. Mario Kart Wii w/Wii Wheel (Wii) – 936,100
8. Assassin’s Creed 2 (Xbox 360) – 783,100
9. Left 4 Dead 2 (Xbox 360) – 728,500
10. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (DS) – 656,700

(*includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

As for the games industry overall, Ms. Frazier ended with, “The video game industry experienced its biggest sales month ever, besting last December by 4%. It wasn’t enough, though, to compensate for the sales decline throughout the year, and so full-year sales came in 8% below last year’s record-setting revenues.

The only category to see an increase over last year was portable hardware, which was up due to a 7% increase in the average retail price. The DS platform, across all categories, contributed 17% of total industry dollars in 2009, up three points from 2008. Unit sales were down only 6% from last year. Average retail prices were down in all categories except for portable hardware and accessories, which led to the greater dollar sales decline. December marks just the fourth month of the year where the industry saw an increase over last year. January and February were both up, and since the decline that began in March, only September experienced growth. The big sales this month, particularly on the hardware front, is a positive move for the industry headed into what will hopefully be a recovery year in 2010.”

Data courtesy of Neogaf