The NPD Group has yet to release its annual US retail sales report for the game industry, but all indications from the firm's monthly reports point to another down year. As with the US, so too with the UK and Japan, as the regions' respective retail stat-tracking firms have announced steep sales declines for 2011.
In a report released by the Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment, total retail sales for all entertainment software, non-PC hardware, and gaming accessories declined 13 percent year-over-year to £2.52 billion ($3.9 billion).
Retail sales for console, PC, and handheld software came in at £1.42 billion ($2.19 billion), which represents a 7 percent year-over-year slide. British consumers spent an additional £646 million ($1 billion) on console and handheld hardware, with the Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS propelling growth. Accessory sales amounted to £453 million ($702 million) in 2011.
Notably, the UK retail industry experienced a particularly strong October-December quarter, with fully 51 percent of annual revenue generated during the period. Eight of the top 10 selling games were released during this period, with Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 leading sales.
In Japan, the story was much the same, though not quite so severe. Andriasang reports today that Famitsu publisher Enterbrain has released its 2011 analysis of the Japanese game market, one that reflects an 8 percent year-over-year drop in total revenues. (Enterbrain's report did not include accessory and PC software sales.)
Non-PC hardware and software combined to generate sales of ¥454 billion ($5.89 billion). Hardware actually grew marginally during the year, rising 2.4 percent to ¥179 billion ($2.33 billion), while software slipped 13.7 percent to ¥274 billion ($3.56 billion).
Belying its rocky launch, the 3DS topped the Japanese hardware charts, thanks in no small part to Nintendo's drastic 33 percent price cut for the system in August. The system matched its US performance, selling 4,135,739 units, according to Enterbrain. Sony's PSP sold 1,960,177 units, just ahead of the PlayStation 3's 1,467,261 units.
The Wii and DS family of hardware followed, with a respective 937,451 units and 711,204 units sold. The PlayStation Vita shifted 402,794 during its short time on the market, while the Xbox 360 moved just 114,075 units.
Japanese gamers' tastes were clearly evident in the software sales chart. Nintendo's Mario franchise secured the top two slots with Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land. Capcom's Monster Hunter franchise proved to be the second most popular, with Monster Hunter Portable 3rd and Monster Hunter 3G slipping into third and fourth. Those games were followed by a double dose of Final Fantasy.
2011 Japanese hardware sales chart:
Platform / 2011 sales / LTD sales
3DS / 4,135,739 / --
PSP / 1,960,177 / 18,237,108
PlayStation 3 / 1,467,261 / 7,417,148
Wii / 937,451 / 12,167,743
DS family / 711,204 / 32,835,502
PS Vita / 402,794 / --
Xbox 360 / 114,075 / 1,520,738
2011 Japanese software sales chart:
Rank / Title / Platform / Publisher / 2011 sales / LTD sales
1. Mario Kart 7 / Nintendo / 3DS / 1,082,391 / --
2. Super Mario 3D Land / Nintendo / 3DS / 1,042,511 / --
3. Monster Hunter Portable 3rd / Capcom / PSP / 1,021,457 / 4,502,446
4. Monster Hunter 3G / Capcom / 3DS / 809,322 / --
5. Final Fantasy XIII-2 / Square Enix / PS3 / 697,146 / --
6. Final Fantasy Type-0 / Square Enix / PSP / 696,428 / --
7. Minna no Rhythm Tengoku / Nintendo / Wii / 633,429 / --
8. Tales of Xillia / Namco Bandai / PS3 / 632,151 / --
9. Wii Sports Resort / Nintendo / Wii / 612,807 / 2,732,655
10. Wii Party / Nintendo / Wii / 584,545 / 2,123,773 / --