2011 US games market down 8% leaving UK as worst performer

NPD has confirmed that the US video games market declines eight per cent year-on-year to $17.02bn in 2011.

That’s the same rate of decline that was seen in Japan last year, and sadly leaves the UK out alone as the worst performing video games market out of the traditional ‘big three’ in 2011.

Focusing back on the US, things aren’t all rosy either, though NPD reckons that if digital games sales were factored in the decline would have only been two per cent, with physical sales down eight per cent. That, of course, means digital grew by seven per cent during the period.

Digital up, physical down.

And the December market delivered a shocking 21 per cent decline in software sales to $3.99bn. And interestingly, Q4 accounted for 23 per cent of the annual 2011 US market. Compare that to the UK where Q4 claimed a mammoth 51 per cent of 2011.

December software sales were down 14 per cent at $2.14bn. Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was the best selling game both of the month and the year.

Other Christmas sellers included Just Dance 3 (which claimed second place in the December Top Ten), Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (third), Mario Kart 7 (fourth) and Battlefield 3 (fifth). Star Wars: The Old Republic was the 14th best selling game of the month.

For the overall 2011 market software sales were down six per cent.

Hardware, meanwhile, fell 11 per cent, with December market tumbling by a disappointing 28 per cent. 3DS and DS were the only formats to experience a month-on-month increase in sales.

It’s no surprise that Xbox 360 was the best selling hardware of the year, though both Microsoft’s and Sony’s machines saw annual unit sales gains. That’s right – both platforms are still growing in the world’s biggest games market. Does that sound like the corrct backdrop for the announcement of two new machines at E3?

Note though that Microsoft’s platform accounted for around 40 per cent of annual US physical sales revenue.

Microsoft itself added that it outsold the second place console” by 2.7m units throughout the year. December was the tenth consecutive month that Xbox has claimed at least 40 per cent of the total games market.

Accessory sales fell 11 per cent for the year and 27 per cent in December.

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