Nintendo sold 10.17 million Wii consoles in the United States in 2008, setting a new video game record despite dismal economic conditions gripping the country, according to NPD Group statistics.
Nintendo’s DS handheld game devices sold nearly as well, with US consumers snatching up 9.95 million of them last year, the NPD figures released on Thursday indicate.
“There is no longer a question that if you offer consumers an expanded definition of what a video game can be, and deliver that idea with quality and affordability in mind, millions of new people will start playing video games,” said Nintendo of America executive vice president of sales and marketing Cammie Dunaway.
“Concepts like ‘Wii Fit,’ ‘Guitar Hero,’ and ‘Rock Band’ never would have seemed feasible just a few years ago, and now they’re driving growth for our the entire industry.”
NPD reported that 55% of new-generation video game consoles sold in the United States last year were Wii devices, known for motion-sensing controllers and family-style play.
The four top-selling video games last year are Wii titles, and Nintendo’s retail success is credited with helping video game industry revenues in 2008 rise 19% from the previous year.
Is the success of the Wii indicative of future market trends? Will Microsoft and Sony stick it out and target their smaller but more dedicated “hard-core” gamer audience in the next round, ie, PS4 and Xbox 720? Or will they take a leaf out of Nintendo’s book and go for mass appeal?