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2010 US games sales down 5% to $19.3bn

Black Ops outsells nearest rival by 2:1 in full year; DS and Wii top, but 360 only console to increase sales

Total videogame sales in the US during 2010 were $19.3 billion, according to estimates from the NPD Group.

That figure includes physical sales of hardware, software and accessories, physical PC game sales, and NPD's best estimate of used games, rentals, subscriptions, full digital game downloads, social network games, downloadable content and mobile game sales.

The company did not reveal its method of estimation, but is set to release a more detailed report in March.

Game content, without including hardware and accessories, is estimated to be between $15.4 billion and $15.6 billion for the year.

Physical sales of game content, including portable, console and PC games software, generated revenues of $10.1 billion, down 5 per cent on 2009.

"This year, declines in portable and console game sales were offset by new physical PC game sales, which increased by 3 per cent, and increases in the consumer spend occurring via digital download, mobile gaming apps, social network games, and used games," said NPD.

For the entire year, the Xbox 360 was the only system to see year-on-year gains over 2009, with sales of 6.7 million units - up 42 per cent.

However, it was still outsold by Nintendo, which last night revealed the DS was the best-selling system in the region during 2010, with more than 8 million units sold - followed by the Wii with over 7 million units sold.

The DS has now surpassed the installed base of the PlayStation 2, with over 47 million units in the hands of consumers.

"Nintendo has sold more game systems than anyone else for five years running," said Charlie Scibetta, Nintendo of America's senior director of Corporate Communications. "Of the quarter billion hardware systems sold in the United States during the past 10 years, Nintendo sold more than half."

Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops finished the year with more than 12 million units sold in the US, more than twice that of the second best-selling game, EA's Madden NFL 11.

"This might lead some to think the industry is becoming more hit-driven with sales more concentrated among the top titles, but in fact, sales of the top 10 titles this year represented about the same percentage of total unit sales as they did last year."

Halo: Reach, New Super Mario Bros Wii and Red Dead Redemption filled out the rest of the top five games of the year.

Physical PC game sales for the full year were up due to Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, representing 14 per cent of units sales for the 12 months.

"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, 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."

The top 10 games for 2010 follow:

  • 01 Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PC, NDS, PS3, Wii)
  • 02 Madden NFL 11 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP)
  • 03 Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)
  • 04 New Super Mario Bros Wii (Wii)
  • 05 Red Dead Redemption (360, PS3)
  • 06 Wii Fit Plus (Wii)
  • 07 Just Dance (Wii)
  • 08 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360, PS3, PC)
  • 09 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (360, PS3)
  • 10 NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, Ps2, PSP, Wii, PC)

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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