US retailers sold USD 203 million worth of PC games in the first two months of 2007 - a 48 per cent year-on-year increase, according to an analyst for the NPD Group. Speaking to the New York Times, NPD's Anita Frazier noted that sales in the same period last year reached only USD 136.8 million. These figures do not include online sales or subscription revenue, often cited as the major growth areas in the PC gaming market.
Frazier noted that the increasing popularity of role-playing games was a major factor in the rise. Sales of RPGs were 43 per cent higher than in the first two months of 2006. The release of World of Warcraft expansion The Burning Crusade in January 2007 is likely to have accounted for a great deal of these sales.
"The robust performance we're seeing in PC game sales can be tied to several key titles across several genres," said Frazier. "But we'd be remiss not to address the continued success of World of Warcraft."
NPD's research shows retail sales of PC games in the US kept steady at just under USD 1 billion annually in 2005 and 2006, after a 14 per cent drop from 2004 figures. This compares with 2006 console game sales of USD 4.8 billion and a handheld game market worth USD 1.7 billion. The latest 2007 figures show a sharp reversal of this declining trend, although only time will tell if they are any more than a Burning Crusade-related blip.