Combined videogame software unit sales across the world’s three largest games markets grew 11% in 2008, totaling 409.9 million units vs. the 367.7 million units sold in 2007, according to the?Top Global Markets report, writes Retailer Daily.
The aggregate growth in the top 3 videogame markets are because of increases in the US and UK, with respective increases of 15% and 26%. Japan, however, recorded a 13% decline in videogame sales.
Growth in the US was the result of console software growth of 22%; portable software grew 2%.
“Continuing the growth of the videogame industry over the past few years, 2008 software unit sales in the US also saw an increase of 15% over 2007, selling over 268.4 million units for the year – nearly 36 million more units than last year,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group.
“Only two months in 2008 saw a decline in unit sales in the US, with one due in large part to the release of 360 Halo 3 in Sept. ’07 and the other due to an additional week in the Jan. ’07 retail calendar.”
The 2008 decline in Japan is largely attributable to a decrease in portable software, followed by console software–though not due to poor sales on any current-generation hardware platform.
Rather, the decline was driven by the shrinking PlayStation 2 software market, which underwent a 46% decrease in units. Sales for Nintendo DS Touch Generation software series was also slightly down, according to Enterbrain.
Looking at the Japanese videogame software market by console platform, each system (Sony’s PlayStation 3, Nintendo’s Wii, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360) experienced positive year-over-year growth.
“Looking ahead to 2009, a string of star titles are lined up to hit the market, including DS’s Dragon Quest IX: Hoshizora no Mamoribito,” said Ricky K Tanimoto, Global Marketing Analyst, Enterbrain, Inc. “There are also big console titles scheduled for release in 2009, such as Monster Hunter 3 and Final Fantasy XIII–leading us to anticipate the console software market will fuel sales of this year’s gaming market.”
The UK recorded the largest aggregate growth as well as category growth, with console software gaining 38%, and portable software increasing 6%.
“UK console videogame software units are more than double what was achieved in 2003, which just shows how fast the UK market has been growing. Because of this amazing growth and coupled with the downtown currently being experienced in Japan, the UK market has for the first time overtaken Japan as the #2 world market. Although still behind on revenue, the gap has narrowed considerably and it will be interesting to see how things develop during 2009,” said Dorian Bloch, business group director, GfK Chart-Track Limited.
About the data: Top Global Markets Report is an integrated monthly report from leading providers of consumer and retail information in the videogames industry, The NPD Group, GfK Chart-Track Limited and Enterbrain, Inc. It provides integrated point-of-sale data for videogame software sales in the world’s largest games markets.