Nintendo hardware and software saved the US games market during December, with software for the systems accounting for over 50 per cent of all games sold during the month.
That's according to Jesse Divnich of Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, as the company estimates the Wii sold over 3.2 million units during the month – the highest on record for any single console platform.
"Without these sales, the industry would have likely felt the full wrath of the recession - much like other industries closely linked to gaming," wrote Divnich.
"We believe the simple to use design, cheaper and wider variety of software titles, and the already 'hot effect' in place on both systems, all played a role in driving both the Wii and the DS to the top of their segments. Simply put, Nintendo saved Christmas."
EEDAR anticipates the DS sold 3 million units during December in the US, a rise of 21 per cent, while the Wii's 3.2 million sales was a climb of 137 per cent compared to restricted inventory last year.
Nintendo shipped an "enormous amount of supply into the channel" said Divnich, noting that second hand 'gray' prices for the Wii declined as a result from USD 470 to USD 350.
"We believe the decline in the gray market price is a strong reflection of the increased supply in the channel and not a reflection of a decrease in demand.
"For December 2008, we project that the Wii would have likely sold north of 4 million units had supply and demand been in equilibrium," he added.
Nintendo was also partly responsible for driving down the growth rate of the average selling price of games, said the analysts, with only a modest increase of 2 per cent due to cheaper Wii and DS stock along with heavy discounting at retail.
EEDAR expects that software sales for December in the US were USD 2.7 billion, up 14 per cent, with unit sales up 12 per cent, as over 145 games sold over 100,000 units.
Of the other hardware on the market, EEDAR expects that the Xbox 360 sold 1.5 million units, a rise of 19 per cent, while the PlayStation 3 shifted less than half that with 700,000 units, a decline of over 12 per cent.
According the the company, the PSP outsold the PS3 with 880,000 machines, down almost 17 per cent on the previous December.
Of the top 30 best-selling games in the region during December, 11 will be Nintendo titles, six will be from Electronic Arts and four from Activision Blizzard.
EEDAR top ten software expectations for December 2008 follow:
- Wii Play w/ remote (Wii) – 1.3 million units
- Call of Duty: World at War (Xbox 360) – 1.2 million units
- Mario Kart w/ wheel (Wii) – 1.2 million units
- Wii Fit w/ board (Wii) – 1 million units
- Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360) – 800,000 units
- Call of Duty: World at War (PS3) – 650,000 units
- Madden NFL 09 (360) – 500,000 units
- Left 4 Dead (Xbox 360) – 500,000 units
- Prince of Persia (Xbox 360) – 475,000 units
- Wii Music (Wii) – 425,000 units