Video games outsell DVD/Blu-ray for the first time

At least in terms of consumer spending, retail video games were more popular than DVD and Blu-ray discs in 2008, according to an international research group.

Games accounted for 53 percent of entertainment software spending worldwide, Media Control GfK International said. These figures do not include movie or game rentals.

The momentum is clearly in video games’ direction, growing 20 percent to $32 billion in worldwide sales last year. Movies slipped 6 percent to $29 billion on the decreasing popularity of DVD. Though Blu-ray sales increased, DVD sales dropped, a trend that echoes similar findings in the U.S.

The news doesn’t come as a great surprise, given the popularity of Nintendo’s Wii. Last year, the top four-selling games in North America were all for the Wii, accounting for roughly 20 million unit sales, according to the NPD Group.

While the video game industry will be pleased with this research, it is a bit misleading. After all, new video games sell at retail for $50 to $60, and new DVDs sell for around $20. That means movies are probably still the champion in unit sales. Still, the fact that consumers are willing to spend more dollars at retail for games than movies is significant.

Plus, GfK predicts an even stronger market share for games in 2009, taking 59 percent of entertainment software spending.