Wii Are the Champions
Playing videogames in a recession doesn’t make them any less fun–even if that recession is the worst we’ve seen in 50 years. Though the economy shuddered and slowed in December, videogame industry sales rose nine percent in the states. And for the year, sales of games, consoles and accessories grew 19 percent to $21.3 billion, from $18 billion in 2007.
Now that’s not nearly the 44 percent spike of the previous year, but it’s certainly far better than expected. Said NPD analyst Anita Frazier: “While industry growth has not continued at the blistering pace we saw during the second and third quarters, December’s 9 percent increase over last December brings the year in 19 percent ahead of last year, and sets a new record for total industry sales.”
The engine of the industry’s sales growth? Nintendo. Defying the continued deterioration of the economy, the company saw sales for its Wii and DS consoles surge 59 percent and 23 percent in December and 62 percent and 17 percent for all of 2008. Meanwhile, Microsoft (MSFT) sold 1.44 million Xbox 360s during the month. And Sony (SNE) sold just 726,000 PS3s and 410,000 PSPs.
Clearly, Nintendo carried the industry despite the current economic downturn. Indeed, the Wii accounted for an astonishing 55 percent of all current generation home console sales in 2008.
“Without these sales, the industry would have likely felt the full wrath of the recession–much like other industries closely linked to gaming,” said Jesse Divnich of Electronic Entertainment Design and Research. “We believe their simple-to-use design, cheaper and wider variety of software titles, and the already ‘hot effect’ in place on both systems, all played a role in driving both the Wii and the DS to the top of their segments. Simply put, Nintendo saved Christmas.”