Coming off of yet another record-breaking year of double-digit growth, games at U.S. retail bounded out of the gate in January 2009, with the industry recording $1.33 billion during the month, a 13 percent year-on-year increase.
Hardware sales trends continued to be a point of interest during the month. Nintendo’s Wii once again commanded the home console sales chart, outselling Xbox 360 and PS3 in January 2009. Albeit by a small margin, the supply-constrained Wii also outsold the competition a year ago in January 2008, a month where all three consoles were quite even.
But using the month of January as a snapshot, we can see the difference a year can make, as Wii’s total home console unit share further engulfed rivals in January 2009:
The trends contributing to the Wii’s market-chomping tendencies can be seen in a growth chart of hardware sales from January 2008 to January 2009. Xbox 360’s and PS3’s lines grow modestly (though you can see Xbox 360’s September price drop spike) while the Wii accelerates sharply thanks to improved supply.
In November 2008, the Wii accomplished sales of 2.04 million units. December saw sales of 2.15 million—impressive, but analysts were expecting over 3 million in sales for the month, going by past hardware trends.
Analysts figured that the Wii was supply-constrained during December, leading to lower-than-expected sales. Anecdotal evidence suggests supply is achieving equilibrium with demand; this year should be interesting to see just how much the Wii installed base can grow as its high-def rivals mature.