Even with a December sales performance that “broke all industry records,” U.S. videogame sales slipped 8 percent last year over the $21.4 billion generated in 2008. Aside from portable hardware sales which experienced a 6% increase in revenue, every other category experienced a decline, among which retail sales of PC games suffered the biggest drop with revenues of only $538 million in 2009 according to NPD.

This equates to a 23% decline versus the $701 million generated in 2008, which in turn was down 14% from a year earlier at $910.7 million -- and that 2007 total was a 6% drop from 2006 so you can see the trend here. However, those figures don't account for digital distribution or subscriptions.

So while the industry as a whole has grown by more than 250% at retail alone in the last decade, the decline on the computer front doesn't necessarily mean PC gaming is dead -- quite the contrary some argue it is by far the most prevalent gaming platform and that it's definitely evolving to a more online market. Unfortunately, despite being aware of this, NPD is still not tracking game sales through nontraditional channels.