NPD Group reports the sales figures from the $12.5 billion U.S. video game industry

The official numbers from NPD Group are in, and the undeniable champion of all video game console sales in December is none other than the Nintendo DS. But of course, that’s a handheld and those always sell very well. So among all the play-at-home systems, the leader of them all is PlayStation 2.

Those expecting the current generation systems to top sales charts may be surprised to see Sony’s previous generation machine lead the pack. Apparently, the strong performance of the PS2 surprised NPD’s own analysts. “I literally said 'Oh My God' out loud when I saw the December PS2 numbers,” said Anita Frazier, NPD analyst, to GameDaily. “For that platform to have sold as many units as it did in December up against two new systems in the market was amazing, regardless of the price point.”

One of the “big three” showed up in third spot, and that would be the Xbox 360 cracking past the million mark with 1.1 million sold. The U.S. sales are as follows:


December sales

Total sales to date

Nintendo DS

1.6 million

9.2 million

PlayStation 2

1.4 million

37.1 million

Xbox 360

1.1 million

4.5 million



6.7 million

Game Boy Advance


35.1 million



1.1 million

PlayStation 3



 “The race is really just beginning. We won't see this play out clearly until we're well into 2007,” said Frazier to GameDaily. “That said, the lead that Microsoft had in establishing the 360 for this generation of systems cannot be discounted. Since Sony and Microsoft are similarly positioning their two systems in terms of the device being more than just a video game machine, the 360 lead is more impactful to Sony than it is to Nintendo whose strategy has been different all along.”

The market leader for its generation seems to be pretty happy with its new found success. “We demonstrated our ability to turn our thought leadership into market leadership,” said Peter Moore, Corporate VP at Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division. “Now in 2007, our challenge is to use our position as market leader to continue pushing the innovation envelope and connecting consumers ever more tightly to their games, their friends and their lifestyle.”

Nintendo, on the other hand, couldn’t have asked for a better holiday season. “Millions of players, both hard-core and brand-new, are already enjoying the unique entertainment provided by Wii, but demand for the system remains incredibly high,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “So our work is just beginning. We're dedicating ourselves to maximizing both manufacturing and distribution full bore throughout 2007, to make sure everyone who wants to experience the future of video gaming can do so just as soon as possible.”

Despite being bested by its current generation competitors, Sony remains confident in its newest offerings. “If there was ever any doubt about the power of the PlayStation brand in the US, the December NPD data should quickly quell it,” said Jack Tretton, president and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment America. “Not only did consumers drive records for PlayStation 3, they also validated the excellent value represented by PlayStation 2 and the entertainment versatility of PSP. These sales figures bode very well for the company heading into 2007.”

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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