The slumping economy may have led to studio closures and layoffs, but the video game industry actually fared well in 2008, totaling around $21.33 billion in sales of gaming hardware, software, and accessories during the year. That's up 19 percent from the nearly $18 billion brought in over 2007.
Te big winner here was of course Nintendo. The company managed to sell 10.17 million Wii game consoles in the United States alone – versus around 4.74 million Xbox 360s and 3.55 PS3 consoles – and took the top four slots in game units sold in 2008 as well. Among their best-selling titles was Wii Play, which comes bundled with a Wii Remote controller, coming in first place at 5.28 million, followed by Mario Kart, Wii Fit and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
To put that into perspective, Microsoft’s Halo 3 for the Xbox 360 topped the list in 2007 with 4.82 million copies sold and Wii Play was the runner-up with 4.12 million. Nintendo also controlled the handheld market, selling nearly 10 million of its $130 DS game systems.
On the PC front game sales weren’t so hot, at least from a retail perspective. PC video game software sales totaled only $701 million in 2008, down 14 percent from a year earlier, but many in the industry argue that the market is actually quite healthy and that it's definitely evolving to a more online market. The NPD Group recently started paying more attention to online revenue, but sadly this data does not include that.