Overall gaming sales dropped in 2011, but Xbox 360 & PS3 did well

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 had a pretty good year in 2011. The NPD group reported strong sales for the console in a year that saw a downturn in overall sales of games, accessories, and consoles when compared to 2010.

Overall gaming sales dropped in 2011, but Xbox 360 & PS3 did well

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 managed to hold 40 percent of all physical retail sales in 2011. That 40 percent is across all product categories, which means games, consoles, accessories, etc. The Xbox 360 was the top selling console of the year according the NPD Group. Sony’s PS3 didn’t have an awful year, producing a jump in overall unit sales in 2011 as compared to 2010.

NPD also reports that revenue from games, accessories, and miscellaneous other items for PS3 and Xbox 360 were up 5 percent on the year. Those numbers seem fantastic, especially for Microsoft, but the overall story for the gaming industry as a whole in 2011 was not as positive.

When you look at total retail sales for the year, NPD is reporting a 8 percent overall dip for the whole gaming industry when compared to 2010. The total revenue for 2011 $17.02 billion compared with $18.59 billion in 2010. Sales of consoles and accessories were down 11 percent each, with game sales dropping by 6 percent.

The Xbox 360 and PS3 were the only consoles that saw a rise in unit sales in 2011 while every other device saw a dip when compared to 2010.

NPD also took a look at more non traditional sales like used games, mobile apps, and digital downloads. Consumers spent more on those items in 2011 when compared to 2010. When those numbers are combined with traditional retail sales the overall industry numbers don’t look quite as ominous with physical and digital sales combining to be between $16.3 and $16.6 billion. That amounts to a 2 percent drop compared to 2010.

NPD analysts aren’t exactly surprised by this drop in sales numbers. Anita Frazier addressed this in a statement saying,

“Overall industry results are not entirely surprising given that we are on the back end of the current console lifecycle, combined with the continued digital evolution of gaming. Core gamers continue to be engaged and spend on established franchises across both the digital and physical format using multiple devices for different gaming occasions.”

There is still a great deal of speculation around when new consoles will be announced. With sales still going well for Microsoft it makes it even harder to predict whether or not the company will announce their next console at E3 this year. Time will tell if that ends up being true.