News: All the details on the video game industry's record breaking year and the top ten games of 2003 as well.
The video game industry had a recording breaking year in 2003 as sales of game software totaled $6.9 billion.
"While total sales were slightly below the most bullish forecasts, the record number of blockbuster releases shows that the popularity of video games is strong and growing," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA (Entertainment Software Association). "Moreover, the fact that 44 of the 49 games that sold more than half a million units were rated E or T reflects the fact that this industry is producing a broad array of highly entertaining content appropriate for people of all ages. That's a major reason why entertainment software continues to outpace the annual growth posted by the movie and music industries."
Contrary to popular mainstream media reporting, Mature rated games only made up a small portion of 2003's total sales numbers. And compared to sales in 2002, Mature rated titles have lost market share. In 2003 Everyone rated titles made up 54% of sales (down from 55.7% in 2002. Teen rated games accounted for 30.5% of sales (up from 27.6%) and Mature games captured 11.9% of the market (down from 13.2%).
Of the $6.9 billion in sales, console games took in $5.5 billion of it with sales of 186.4 million copies. Forty nine games sold over 500,000 copies, with nine of those selling over a million. The PC market brought up the rest with $1.2 billion in sales, a drop from $1.4 billion in 2002.
The action genre proved the most popular among console gamers with 27.1% of all sales. It was followed by sports (17.6 %), racing games (15.7%), role-playing games (8.7%), fighting games (6.9%), family entertainment (4.7%), and shooters (4.6%).
Elsewhere, The NPD Group reported that the console industry as a whole, counting all games, consoles and accessories, posted sales of $10 billion in 2003. They have also reported on the top ten best selling titles in 2003. Not surprisingly, the list is dominated by Electronic Arts and Nintendo games:
1. Madden NFL 2004 (PS2, Electronic Arts)
2. Pokemon Ruby (GBA, Nintendo)
3. Pokemon Sapphire (GBA, Nintendo)
4. Need For Speed: Underground (PS2, Electronic Arts)
5. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GCN, Nintendo)
6. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2, Rockstar Games)
7. Mario Kart: Double Dash (GCN, Nintendo)
8. Tony Hawk's Underground (PS2, Activision)
9. Enter The Matrix (PS2, Atari)
10. Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (PS2, Electronic Arts)