Huge mainstream demand for video games over Christmas and a bumper year for Nintendo caused total games industry sales in 2007 to swell by almost 50 per cent over the previous year.
Holiday sales were dominated by the Nintendo DS handheld and the Nintendo Wii sold more units than the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 (PS3), but retailers say 2007 was unique in that all of the games systems on the market performed extremely well.
Market watcher GfK today announced total games industry sales hit $1.3 billion in 2007, an increase of 43.6 per cent over 2006.
Ron Curry, CEO of the industry body, Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, said the growth was a record achievement compared with the 7 per cent increase between 2005 and 2006.
He said the growth was partly driven by the fact that 2007 was the first full year of sales for the new console platforms, the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360. He also noted a major upswing in handheld sales, dominated by the Nintendo DS.
The success of titles like Singstar, Buzz and Guitar Hero have certainly made gaming much more social and exposed more generations to gaming.
Curry said the average age of gamers in Australia was now 28.
GfK has released detailed holiday sales results for each individual console to the manufacturers, but refused to release them publicly, saying it was up to each manufacturer to decide how much data to release.
Microsoft and Nintendo have so far refused to release their sales figures for the final weeks of the year, but Sony said the PS3, PS2 and PSP figures were 48,000, 81,000 and 45,000 units, respectively.
However, GfK rankings obtained by this site show the Nintendo DS handheld dominated over the holiday period, followed by the Wii and the Playstation 2, which were neck-and-neck. The final three places were filled by the PS3, Xbox 360 and the Playstation Portable (PSP), but it is understood the trio were within a few thousands units of each other.
Commenting on sales in EBGames outlets around the country, CEO Steve Wilson said all systems performed extremely well but the Nintendo DS dominated by a large margin. He was also impressed with the Playstation 2, which attracted significant mainstream demand thanks to its low price and array of social games.
Of the three new console platforms, the Wii was also a standout but was held back by stock shortages, Wilson said.
“It’s pretty unique when you can actually say there isn’t a system that did badly – I mean, the PSP was bringing up the rear and you would even say the PSP had a good Christmas,” said Wilson.
Australians bought 15.4 million games in 2007 but more than a third of those sales were made in the lead up to the holidays during the final quarter of the year, GfK said.
The best-selling game across all consoles was Halo 3 for the Xbox 360, which sold over 120,000 copies.
Top Selling Game Consoles for Christmas 2007
1. Nintendo DS
2. Nintendo Wii
5. Xbox 360
Source: GfK Australia