Microsoft Xbox dominates a sluggish 2011 gaming market

Nathan Pensky · January 13, 2012 · Short URL:

Xbox currently hold 46% of the current-generation console market share

Microsoft announced Friday its end-of-year sales, which showed Xbox manufacturers having a banner year, and doing especially well during the holiday season. Analysis by the NDP Group shows that while 2011 was not a good year overall for the physical game sales, Microsoft Xbox products still sold very well.

Microsoft was the frontrunner in console sales by far, outpacing the runner-up Sony PlayStation by 2.7 million units. Xbox 360 consoles took 49% of consumer retail spend, with $6.7 billion in total sales, which breaks down to $4.6 billion in games and accessories and $2.1 billion in consoles. Microsoft sold 66 million Xbox 360 consoles and 16 million Kinect sensors.

December 2011 was the 10th straight month that Xbox 360 held over 40% of the current-generation console market share, and the 12th straight month of being the best-selling console. Xbox 360 currently holds 46% of the current-generation console market share.

Xbox 360 had seven of the top 10 selling games in 2011: “Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3,” Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” “Battlefield 3,” “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations,” “Just Dance 3,” “Kinect Sports Season Two” and “Dance Central 2."

For their part, Sony is claiming that PlayStation also had a good year, citing sales of 6.5 million concoles and handset units worldwide, which includes PS2, PS3, PSP, and PlayStation Vita. The new handheld PlayStation Vita debuted in Japan in 2011 to disappointing sales, but has since improved, having sold about 500,000 units as of January 5.

Still, non-digital sales of gaming products are down in 2011. The industry brought in $17.02 billion in revenue for 2011, down 8% from $18.6 billion from the previous year.

The slump was especially apparent in the holiday season. December 2011 saw a 21% decline in retail sales of gaming products, from $18.6 billion in 2010 to 17 billion. December gaming sales usually account for about 28% of the year's totals, though in 2011 this fell to around 23%.

But those numbers include only sales of physical gaming products, not including downloads, rentals, or sales of used games. This category brought in $7.24 billion, up 7% from 2010. Even still, one report estimates that 2011 saw a 2% decline in the sales of all gaming products.

Let's hope things get better for the gaming industry in 2012. The PlayStation Vita will be released in North America on February 22, and Nintendo -- which experienced annual losses for the first time in over 30 years in 2011 -- will release its first-ever HD console sometimes between june and December 2012.

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