January 17, 2011: Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and John Madden may have been instrumental in driving sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops, NBA 2k11 and Madden NFL 11, respectively, but even their combined star power could not prevent videogame sales in the U.S. from dropping in 2010 versus 2009.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods had to deal with his own set of issues as sales for his namesake title, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 took a steep dive due to both soft videogame category sales and Woods own brand issues.
U.S. retail sales in 2010 of new physical videogame content, which includes portable, console and PC game software, generated revenues of $10.1 billion, a 5% decline over the $10.6 billion generated in 2009.
In addition, the preliminary estimate for total consumer spend on gaming content via all monetization methods was between $15.4-$15.6 billion last year, a total consumer spend on games content in 2010 representing sales that were flat to down by as much as 1% when compared to 2009, according to marketing consultants and analysts The NPD Group, Port Washington, NY. That figure include new physical video and PC games, used games, game rentals, subscriptions, digital full-game downloads, social network games, downloadable content, and mobile game apps.
Sales of EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 were down 68% from the previous year, when Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 move more than 2.3 million copies, according to NPD. EA Sports formed an alliance with The Masters for the recently released Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 in an effort to renew interest and boost sales.
A final estimate of the total consumer spend on the games industry is scheduled to be released in March in NPD's report, Games Industry: Total Consumer Spend (2010).
"The dynamics of games content purchasing changed dramatically in 2010 with options ranging from the physical product to digital downloads on connected devices as well as in-store digital kiosks,"Anita Frazier, industry analyst for The NPD Group, said in a statement. "The increasing number of ways to acquire the content has allowed the industry to maintain total consumer spend on content as compared to 2009, and we should expect 2011 to be a growth year in the games industry as the consumer demand for gaming continues to evolve."
Call of Duty: Black Ops from Activision rose to the No. 1 spot for the entire year in just two months, taking in $360 million in retail sales on its first day of release and $550 million in its first week in November, per industry analysts. Black Ops came with an extensive national campaign, anchored by a TV spot that featured Bryant and late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel as combatants alongside civilians including executives and housewives.
Madden NFL 11 from EA Sports was the best-selling game in August, when it was released, selling more than 1.8 million copies (on PlayStation 3 and Xbox combined) for the month and No. 2 overall for the year. NBA 2K11, from Take Two/2K Sports, had Hall of Famer Michael Jordan on the cover and in the game, which drove it to the best-selling videogame during its release month of October and No. 10 for the year.
According to NPD, the ten best selling new videogames of 2010 at retail (listed with publisher) were:
1) Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision)
2) Madden NFL 11 (EA Sports)
3) Halo: Reach (Microsoft Game Studios)
4) New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo)
5) Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar Games)
6) Wii Fit Plus (Nintendo)
7) Just Dance 2 (Nintendo)
8) Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision)
9) Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft)
10) NBA 2K11 (Take Two/2K Sports)
NPD said that based on its estimated figures, spending on new physical content at retail continues to account for the majority of the total consumer spend on games content. While overall sales were down, retail sales of PC game were up 3% in 2010. Concurrently, increases in the consumer spend on used games sales, full-game digital downloads and downloadable content, mobile gaming apps, and social network gaming offset declines in console and portable new physical game sales, rentals and subscriptions.
"December 2010 represented one of the strongest monthly performances the industry has ever had at retail. It was a robust finish to a year marked by innovation and engaging millions of consumers through a multitude of delivery models," Michael Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Assn., the trade group that represents U.S. computer and video game publishers, said in a statement. "Computer and videogames led all other entertainment options as we responded to consumers’ demands for creative content on every platform from consoles to smart phones to handheld game devices."