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January 18, 2006

Video Games Rise, PC Games Fall

Courtesy of TechWeb News

While sales of video games climbed in 2005, games on PCs sank by 14 percent, a research firm said this week.

According to data from the NPD Group, PC game revenues dropped from 2004's $1.1 billion to just $953 million last year, while unit sales plummeted 19 percent to 38 million from 2004's 47 million.

By comparison, the Port Washington, N.Y.-based research company said that video game sales set a new record in 2005, with revenues reaching $10.5 billion, $300,000 more than the previous mark set in 2002.

However, NPD slapped a caveat on the comparisons, saying that although PC sales seem to have dipped, it's more likely they actually climbed.

"While we have seen retail sales of PC games decrease for several years now, we know from talking to consumers about their online gaming behaviors that playing games on the PC, whether it's via online casual sites or through massive multi-player online (MMO) subscription play, has been increasing," said Anita Frazier, a NPD analyst, in a statement.

NPD will soon change its gaming criteria on the PC, she added, to take into account money spent at not just retail, but also on game downloads as well as online revenue and MMO subscriptions.

Vivendi's "World of Warcraft" was the number one selling game of 2005, NPD added, with more than 957,000 copies sold in 2005. Electronic Arts' "Sims 2: University Expansion Pack" and "Sims 2" took second and third place, with over a million units sold between them.

Estimates for subscription revenues for "World of Warcraft," for example, top $200 million for 2005.

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