When the NPD Group released its annual US retail sales results for 2009 last week, the stat-tracking firm revealed that PC game sales at brick-and-mortar shops slipped a dramatic 23 percent from 2008 to $538 million. At the top of that chart was Electronic Arts' The Sims 3, which debuted to solid reviews on June 2. Though NPD did not break out sales figures, EA said that the life simulator had sold 3.7 million units globally through June.
Today, EA announced that not only was The Sims 3 the best-selling PC title in the US, but also the rest of the world. The publisher pulled its data from a range of independent industry-tracking sources, including NPD, Chart-track UK, Gfk France, Gfk Spain, Gfk-MCC Germany, as well as its own internal estimates. EA has confirmed for GameSpot that lifetime-to-date sales for The Sims 3 have reached 4.5 million units.
EA noted that The Sims 3's performance in 2009 marks the sixth time during the decade that a Sims title topped the global PC sales charts. The original The Sims accomplished the feat from 2000 to 2003, with The Sims 2 ousting it in 2004. The Sims 2 finished as runner-up on the global PC sales charts in 2005 and 2006.
The publisher has also seen substantial success with The Sims 3 Exchange, an online store populated by content created by users. According to EA, more than 100 million pieces of content have been downloaded through the Exchange since the game launched in June.
The Sims 3 received its first expansion in November 2009 in the form of the well-received World Adventures. A second add-on, The Sims 3: High-End Loft Stuff, is expected next month. As part of its downward earnings revision last week, the publisher also said that new entries in The Sims franchise would appear on unspecified consoles during its 2011 fiscal year, which runs April 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011.