The videogames industry has set a new record in the US for sales of software and hardware, with 2008's level topping USD 21 billion across the year, with almost a quarter of that coming in the supposedly economy-stricken month of December.
According to NPD data software sales grew by almost 23 per cent to USD 11.7 billion, with December alone accounting for USD 5.3 billion - more than the total figure generated throughout the entire calendar year in 1997.
Console game sales totalled USD 8.9 billion, based on 189 million units sold, while PC games accounted for USD 701 million from 29.1 million units, while portable titles sold 79.5 million units, hitting USD 2.1 billion.
The total number of games sold was just under 298 million units, with more than half of those rated at Everyone 10+. Teen titles accounted for 26.7 per cent of the market, while Mature games were just 15.9 per cent.
"Even in difficult economic times, the video game industry continues to support our country’s local, state and national economies with record-breaking sales figures and rapid technological innovation," said Michael Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA. "Our industry's exceptional creators, artists, and storytellers, coupled with a commitment to providing unparalleled entertainment, have fuelled high-octane growth, turning video games into the most sought-after medium on the market today."
And NPD analyst Anita Frazier added: "The USD 11.7 billion in software sales generated in 2008 is more than total industry revenues were in 2005, but even with the strong market growth of the gaming industry over the past few years, what we are seeing is an accumulation of more sales by a select group of titles.
"In 2005, when the current console generation began to be introduced, the top 20 games of the year accounted for 9 per cent of total unit sales. Today, the top 20 account for 15 percent of total unit sales."
GfK earlier noted that videogames outsold both Blu-ray and DVD globally in 2008.