NPD: 2006 Record Yearâ
Research firm NPD Group reports that total US videogame retail sales for 2006 clocked in at $12.5 billion, with December sales up 28 percent; full lists of top-selling games within. Analyst Anita Frazier says results disprove worst fears about transition years. FULL HARDWARE AND GAMES SALES STATS INSIDE….
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Update: The NPD Group issued a correction regarding The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess sales figures. The game should’ve been featured on the non-platform-specific list of top selling games of 2006, taking into account both the Wii and GameCube versions.
Total US videogame sales (hardware, software, accessories) for 2006 were up 19 percent compared to 2005’s $10.5 billion in sales. December alone brought in $3.7 billion overall.
December software sales were up 5 percent to $1.7 billion, while annual software sales rose 6 percent to $6.5 billion.
NPD analyst Anita Frazier told Next-Gen that the record-breaking 2006 disproved some previous notions regarding console transition years, “I believe 2006 has once again shown that the rules of this industry are constantly changing,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Console transition years are supposed to be bad…and the year certainly started out that way. But once Microsoft got the supply issues ironed out on the 360 and some more compelling titles began to be introduced to market, things picked up there quite a bit."
She continued, “Also, Nintendo did a bang-up job marketing the DS and bringing out content that expanded the market, combined with the continued strength of the PS2 which has really remained the foundation of the industry and resulted in a much smoother transition year overall.”
For the month of December, the console hardware category saw the biggest gains, raking in $1.1 billion compared to December 2005’s $461.3 million, representing a 131 percent year-over-year increase. On an annual basis, console hardware sales were $2.9 billion, an increase of 88 percent. The Wii and PlayStation 3 launched in mid-November, and the year-old Xbox 360 was in good supply by year-end.
Portable sales revenue was actually down almost 6 percent for December to $488.7 million, but only because handheld price tags have come down. The category is actually up in unit sales.
Speaking of portable hardware, the Nintendo DS bulldozed through the month as the top-selling piece of hardware with 1.6 million units sold in December, bringing life-to-date US sales to 9.2 million. The handheld currently retails for $130.
The aging PS2 continues to be a force, coming in second for the month in the overall hardware arena and first in the home console category with 1.4 million units sold in December and life-to-date sales of 37.1 million in the US.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 finished on the overall hardware podium in third place, with 1.1 million units sold for the month and 4.5 million life-to-date.
DS rival PSP showed up for the holidays with 953.2K in unit sales, bringing life-to-date sales to 6.7 million in the US.
The trusty GameBoy Advance managed 850.7K for the month, with life-to-date sales pegged at 35.1 million units.
Then there were the console hardware noobs Wii and PS3. Wii managed to outsell PS3 in the US with 604.2K for the month and 1.1 million life-to-date. PS3 sold 490.7K in December, bringing US life-to-date sales to 687.3K units.
Frazier told Next-Gen that the $600 60GB hard drive-equipped PS3 accounted for 75 percent of PS3 sales since its launch, with the $500 20GB version making up the remaining 25 percent.
A separate statement from Sony pointed out that in the first two months of availability, PS3 has sold-through more units in the US than the PS1 and PS2.
SCEA boss Jack Tretton commented, “If there was ever any doubt about the power of the PlayStation brand in the US, the December NPD data should quickly quell it. Not only did consumers drive records for PlayStation 3, they also validated the excellent value represented by PlayStation 2 and the entertainment versatility of PSP. These sales figures bode very well for the company heading into 2007.”
Both Sony and Nintendo plan to meet a 6 million unit shipment target by the end of March. Sony recently announced that it had met its goal of shipping 1 million PS3s into the retail channel by the end of 2006.
Total hardware sales including both portables and consoles were up 59 percent to $1.6 billion for December. On an annual basis, they were up 43 percent to $4.6 billion.
Breaking down the software numbers further for the month, console software sales specifically were up just half a percent to $1.2 billion and portable software was up 19 percent to $521.6 million. Total portable software sales for 2006 were up 19 percent to $1.7 billion and total annual console software sales rose 3 percent to $4.8 billion.
For top-selling software and accessories by units, here are the reprinted charts (with NPD’s permission) supplied to Next-Gen (all titles include bundled packs and special editions).
Top 10 videogames for 2006 overall (platform specific):
The PS2 had five games in this category, the Xbox 360 had three and the DS claimed two.
- Madden NFL 07, PS2, EA—2.8 million
- New Super Mario Bros., DS, Nintendo—2 million
- Gears of War, Xbox 360, Microsoft—1.8 million
- Kingdom Hearts II, PS2, Square Enix—1.7 million
- Guitar Hero II, PS2, Activision—1.3 million
- Final Fantasy XII, PS2, Square Enix—1.3 million
- Brain Age: Train Your Brain, DS, Nintendo—1.1 million
- Madden NFL 07, Xbox 360, EA—1.1 million
- Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Xbox 360, Ubisoft—1 million
- NCAA Football 07, PS2, EA—1 million
Top 10 videogames of December 2006 (platform specific):
The PS2 had four games in the top ten, the DS and Xbox 360 each had two (Microsoft’s Gears of War topped the charts) and the GameCube and Wii each had one game (Twilight Princess).
- Gears of War, Xbox 360, Microsoft—815.7K
- Guitar Hero II, PS2, Activision—805.2K
- Madden NFL 07, PS2, EA—737.1K
- Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, GameCube, Nintendo—532.9K
- Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Wii, Nintendo—519.2K
- WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007, PS2, THQ—484.5K
- New Super Mario Bros., DS, Nintendo—427.5K
- Call of Duty 3, Xbox 360, Activision—410.8K
- Yoshi’s Island 2, DS, Nintendo—407.2K
- Call of Duty 3, PS2, Activision—365.3K
Top-selling titles overall for December (includes all handheld and console versions):
Madden NFL 07 reigned supreme in December, and rival Activision had four titles make the month’s top-selling games list. Gears of War for Xbox 360 and Guitar Hero II for PS2 were the only two exclusive titles to make the list (although Guitar Hero II will be soon migrating to Xbox 360). Update: Zelda sells 1.1 million for a second place finish for the month.
- Madden NFL 07, EA—1.9 million
- Call of Duty 3, Activision—1.1 million
- Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Nintendo–1.1 million
- Cars, THQ—874K
- Need for Speed Carbon, EA—871.6K
- Gears of War, Microsoft—815.7K
- Guitar Hero II, Activision—805.2K
- Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, LucasArts—792.3K
- WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007, THQ—731.6K
- Tony Hawk’s Project 8, Activision—713.9K
Top-selling accessories of December 2006:
The Xbox 360 wireless remote topped the month, followed by strong sales of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers. Accessory sales in December were up 47 percent to $451 million. Annual sales were up 19 percent to $1.5 billion.
- Xbox 360 Wireless Controller—823.8K
- Wii Remote—646.7K
- Wii Nunchuk—497.1K
- PS2 8MB Memory Card—474.8K
- PS3 Sixaxis—336K
- PS2 8MB Memory Card (other brand)—286K
- DualShock 2—263.4K
- Blue DualShock 2—245.2K
- Xbox 360 Play & Charge Kit—224.6K
- PS2 Cordless Action Controller (Logitech)—219.9K