2007 Video game growth outpaced music, video

Mario Nintendo wins

All signs are pointing to 2007 being the best year ever for video games, but how did the industry stack up against some of the Old Guard like movies and music?

If the Entertainment Software Association (via Ars Technica) is to be believed, it was a banner year that left tired old things like “CDs” and DVDs” in the dust.

As far as I’m concerned, good riddance. The RIAA and MPAA are the media dinosaurs of our time, and I, for one, welcome our looming non-physical, all digital media overlords (come Apple, come satellite radio, come YouTube and torrents!).


Game sales for the year were weighted very heavily in favor of the consoles. In fact, PC games accounted for only 9.5% of total gaming sales. Portable software sales (e.g., PSP and DS) hit a record of $2 billion, while consoles accounted for $6.6 billion in sales. Altogether, approximately 267.8 million games were sold across all platforms.

“The video game industry set the pace over all others in 2007, with record-breaking sales, off-the-charts consumer demand, and innovation reaching from galactic exploration to guitar simulation,” said ESA CEO and president Michael D. Gallagher. “On average, an astonishing 9 games were sold every second of every day of the year.”

I may show extreme bias from time to time towards Mario, Miyamoto and even Pokemon, but this kind of news is just plain awesome for everyone. It’s in my opinion that, until now, the video game industry was kind of the laughing stock of the mainstream world. People thought it was comprised of young men alone in dark rooms and sexism and immaturity, and for the most part they were right. But numbers (read: money) like these tell me that’s all changing, regardless of the platform you own or love or whatever.

As for the “no surprises” category, Nintendo led the pack in console sales selling 6.29 million units during 2007. The Xbox was second with 4.62 million, the PS2 third with 3.97 million units, and the PS3 finished with 2.56 million sales. The Nintendo DS sold 8.5 million, and the PSP selling 3.82 million. More “no surprise” territory:

There were also some changes in terms of who was purchasing the games. Two groups whose game-buying habits changed drastically during 2007 were people over age 35 and females. Much of that is due to the incredible popularity of the Nintendo Wii, which has made gaming accessible to a whole host of people who would otherwise have never picked up a controller.

Good. Rising tide raises, and all that jazz.

But there was one last surprise. It’s not a very good one if you’re of the opinion that more mature titles need to be on Nintendo consoles. Unfortunately, the majority of people’s buying habits just don’t support that opinion. See below (provided by NPD numbers):

Game Ratings sales 2007

Titles like Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 made the top 10, sure, but M-rated titles only accounted for 15.5% of 2007 sales. Titles carrying the E rating were most popular, followed by T-rated games. Kind of makes you wonder how much of an impact “killer apps” like GTA and Metal Gear really have on the industry, no? “This is clearly an industry strongly rooted in family-friendly entertainment, and not on Mature-rated titles,” said Gallagher.

This is clearly an industry that will be ruled by the Long Tail theory; the Age of Blockbuster M-Rated hits is over, said Jack Loftus of Infendo.