Based on this estimate, spending on new physical content at retail continues to account for the majority of the total consumer spend on games content. U.S. retail sales of new physical video game content, which includes portable, console and PC game software, generated revenues of $10.1 billion, a 5 percent decline over the $10.6 billion generated in 2009.
Bright spots came from PC games new physical retail software, which was up 3 percent in 2010, as well as increases in the consumer spend on used games sales, full-game digital downloads and downloadable content, mobile gaming apps, and social network gaming, which 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," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, the trade group that represents U.S. computer and video game publishers. "Computer and video games 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. I look forward to a strong 2011 with a great pipeline of titles, many of which will be unveiled at the global center of video games?the E3 Expo."
"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," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "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."
Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game consoles were the only platform to sell more hardware in 2010 than in the previous year, according to NPD.
At CEs 2011, Steve Ballmer boasted that Microsoft sold more than eight million Kinect controllers for Xbox 360 video game consoles in the 60 days after it hit the market in November.
The best-selling game for December as well as for all of 2010 was shooter title "Call of Duty: Black Ops," which fans buying more than 12 million copies since it was released in November.
Nintendo also claimed victory when it came to video game consoles and handheld device sales, selling 8.5 million DS devices and 7 million Wii consoles in the year.
Nintendo sold more than 2.5 million Nintendo DS systems and more than 2.3 million Wii systems in December alone, bringing their lifetime U.S. sales totals to more than 47 million and more than 34 million, respectively.
With the new Nintendo 3DS system is set to launch in the United States in March, Nintendo has strong momentum heading into 2011. Nintendo 3DS lets users view 3D images without the need for special glasses.
Three of the top five best-selling games of December play exclusively on Nintendo systems. These include Just Dance 2 from Ubisoft at No. 1, Donkey Kong Country Returns from Nintendo at No. 3 and Disney Epic Mickey from Disney Interactive Studios at No. 4.