NPD Group: Gaming Industry Grows To $12.5 Billion in 2006

With the shift to the new generation of consoles finally complete, there's little left to discuss about the transitional year aside from how well the industry weathered it. The industry-tracking NPD Group today released its US retail gaming sales results for December and for the entirety of 2006, and the figures showed a record sales year and growth almost across the board.

When hardware, software, and accessories sales are combined, the total US gaming market for the year amounted to $12.5 billion, a 19 percent jump over 2005's $10.5 billion, which was the previous highest grossing year in US gaming. December alone saw the industry bring in $3.7 billion, 27.8 percent more than the $2.9 billion it brought in for December 2005. The figures did not include sales of PC games, PC game subscriptions, or downloaded content.

Last month, retailers racked up $1.7 billion in game sales, a 5.4 percent increase over December 2005. While sales of games for the recently released Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation 3 added to the tally, console software sales overall were virtually unchanged, up only about .5 percent. However, last month's portable game sales showed significantly more growth over December 2005, as they cumulatively jumped 18.8 percent to $521.6 million.

The numbers were reversed on the hardware side of the equation. While portable systems showed the strongest growth as far as software went, sales of the hardware were actually down for the month, slipping 5.7 percent from the year before to $488.7 million. It was the Wii and PS3 driving hardware growth last month, as December's $1.1 billion take for console hardware was double December 2005's tally and then some, up 131.2 percent from the year before. Combining the portable and console markets, hardware sales for the month were up 59.2 percent to $1.6 billion.
View: Full Story @ Gamespot

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