The year’s not over yet, but the picture of the video game industry’s top selling games is starting to become pretty clear. The NPD Group, which tracks sales of game software, has compiled a list of the most popular games through the end of November.
Posted: 15 Dec 2009
Copies sold: 2.1 million on the Wii
Sales are down over 50 percent from last year, but the fact that it’s still a best seller in 2009 shows the wide appeal of this mini-game title. Like “Wii Sports” and “Wii Sports Resort,” it focuses on reasonably short games that are intuitive. The game also comes with an extra Wii controller, boosting its popularity with owners of the system. Since its launch, “Wii Play” has sold approximately 25 million copies.
Copies sold: 3.5 million on the Wii
Nintendo’s exercise game has shown remarkable resilience at retail, actually moving up a notch in the rankings. Lifetime sales have topped 8 million units and the game still has a regular presence in the monthly sales charts. Not bad for a title that people scoffed at when it was introduced.
Copies sold: 1.4 million on the Wii
It speaks to the power of the “Super Mario Bros.” franchise that this latest installment of the game became one of the year’s top sellers in a little over two weeks. The fact that it’s the first multiplayer “Mario Bros.” in 24 years probably had something to do with it.
Copies sold: 1.9 million on the Nintendo DS
Now well into its second decade, the Pokemon franchise is showing no signs of slowing down. To illustrate this: “Pokemon Platinum” is basically a Director’s cut of a previous game. Players didn’t care – and have been buying it consistently since March.
Publisher: Activision Blizzard
Copies sold: 1.9 million on the PS3
Same juggernaut franchise: Different platform. While the Xbox 360 seems to be the preferred platform for “MW2” among gamers, the game’s hardly under performing on Sony’s console. And as hardware sales for the system continue to climb thanks to recent price cuts, expect sales of this version of the title to escalate as well.
Publisher: Activision Blizzard
Copies sold: 4.2 million on the Xbox 360
“Modern Warfare 2” made $550 million in the first five days, so it’s no surprise to see it atop this year’s list. It’s so popular that Microsoft saw 2 million Xbox Live subscribers playing concurrently after launch, making it not only the game to beat this year – but likely for the majority of 2010 as well.
Copies sold: 2.2 million on the Wii
Another familiar game from last year, “Wii Mario Kart” was 2008’s second best selling title and continues to have strong legs. The popular franchise has also maintained its retail price, a rarity for a game that’s 19 months old.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Copies sold: 1.5 million on the Xbox 360
EA’s premiere sports franchise has lost a bit of its sales luster over the past several years – and this year’s version failed to meet the company’s sales expectations - but it’s still a big performer and has one of the loyalist fan bases of any title in the industry.
Copies sold: 2 million on the Xbox 360
Initially conceived as a side project, the latest installment in the “Halo” franchise took on a life of its own during development. It’s a different type of game than its predecessors, with no sign of the series hero - the Master Chief. Fans snatched it up, though and critics applauded the new style of play.
Copies sold: 2.4 million on the Wii
Like the original “Wii Sports,” this follow-up focuses on min-games that anyone can pick up and play instantly. Nintendo also packaged its “Wii Motion Plus” peripheral (which adds a new layer of precision to the Wii’s controller) with the game to boost sales. The strategy seems to be working.