NPD Group reported Thursday that US sales of videogame hardware and software hit 5.53 billion dollars in December, setting a new monthly record and giving a blockbuster end to a lackluster year.
"The big sales (in December), particularly on the hardware front, is a positive move for the industry headed into what will hopefully be a recovery year in 2010," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.
Videogame industry revenues for 2009 totaled nearly 19.66 billion dollars, an eight percent drop from the record-high 21.4 billion dollars seen in the prior year, according to NPD.
"Clearly, 2009 was (a) tough year for consumers and the national economy," said Michael Gallagher, chief executive of the Entertainment Software Association that represents computer and videogame publishers.
"That said, our industry's structure is solid, and I anticipate a strong 2010 with a pipeline full of highly-anticipated titles."
Sales of videogame consoles and hand-held devices hit an unprecedented high in December, with Sony selling more than 1.3 million of its PlayStation 3 models in its best monthly showing to date.
"We knew 2009 would be a turning point for the platform due to the new price and a content line up that is fueling unprecedented consumer and industry interest," said Sony Computer Entertainment of America communications director Patrick Seybold.
Launches of hot titles such as "God of War III" and a new motion-sensing controller this year should bolster the popularity of PS3 consoles, according to Seybold.
Nintendo also set new US records, selling 3.81 million Wii consoles and 3.31 million DS hand-held gaming devices here in December, according to NPD.
"Wii, Nintendo DS Lite and Nintendo DSi combined to sell more than 7 million units in the month of December alone," said Nintendo of America executive vice president of sales and marketing Cammie Dunaway.
"Clearly there is overwhelming consumer demand for fun games, motion controls and value."
Microsoft weighed in with a strong showing also, selling 1.31 of its Xbox 360 videogame consoles in December, according to the industry tracking firm.
NPD expects videogame sales to be buoyed this year as millions of console owners go shopping for titles to play.
"Hopefully, the big increase in the overall install base of hardware systems will bring good things for software sales in 2010," Frazier said.
"Especially with the incredible line-up of content coming out early in the year."
Game software for Nintendo devices took six of the Top Ten sales spots for December, with a "New Super Mario Brothers" title topping the rankings.
Other big sellers on the list included Ubisoft's "Assassin's Creed II" and "Modern Warfare 2" by Activision.
"Modern Warfare 2" was the top selling console game in the United States in 2009, while "The Sims 3" led sales for videogames played on personal computers, according to NPD.Reuse content