2010 sees 6 percent drop in retail video game sales

2010 was another ugly year for video game retailers. Overall sales of video games were down 6 percent compared to the 2009 numbers – coming in at $18.58 billion. But there was some room for optimism. AntiqueCashRegister

Adding in other income streams, including digital downloads, used game sales, game rentals, subscriptions, social network games and mobile game apps, the NPD Group, which tallies the numbers, estimates preliminary software sales in 2010 were between $15.4 to $15.6 billion – which represented relatively flat growth compared to 2009 (though perhaps down by 1 percent).

“The dynamics of games content purchasing changed dramatically in 2010 with options ranging from the physical product to digital downloads on connected devices as well as in-store digital kiosks,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst for The NPD Group. “The increasing number of ways to acquire the content has allowed the industry to maintain total consumer spend on content as compared to 2009, and we should expect 2011 to be a growth year in the games industry as the consumer demand for gaming continues to evolve.”

For December, which is traditionally the industry’s busiest month, there wasn’t much good news to be found.  Retail game sales fell 8 percent – versus analyst expectations of a 2 percent increase. Hardware, meanwhile, was down 16 percent, chiefly on the continuing weakness of the Nintendo DSi.

Software-wise, there weren’t a lot of surprises. “Call of Duty: Black Ops” led the pack, with “Just Dance 2” taking second. PC exclusive “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” came in the number three slot, though – showing the strength of that franchise.

A complete list of December’s top sellers is available after the break.