NPD: Retail PC game sales fell by 23% in 2009

PC gamers got a healthy cross-section of new games in 2009, but judging by the NPD Group's latest numbers, that abundance didn't stop the same old titles from dominating the market scoreboard.

The research firm's list of top-selling PC games in the U.S. includes a majority of Blizzard and Maxis offerings, namely the Sims series, Spore, and of course, World of Warcraft and its expansion packs. The only exceptions: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which came in fifth place, Dragon Age: Origins in ninth place, and Empire: Total War at the bottom of the list.

Compared to NPD's 2008 list, we see few differences—although at the time, the list did include a couple of extra non-Blizzard massively multiplayer online games, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.

NPD says retail sales of PC games fell by 23% to $538 million between 2008 and 2009 in the United States. Add stateside console game sales for 2009, and you get an 11% drop to $10.5 billion. One would be tempted to attribute the greater PC decline to the rise of digital distribution. NPD doesn't track digital services like Steam and Direct2Drive.

Interestingly, peeking at the console charts shows a similar bias toward more casual titles. While Modern Warfare 2 came in first and eighth place for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, respectively, Wii games accounted for six of the top 10, and a Pokemon title for the Nintendo DS also made it into the scoreboard. (Thanks to Shacknews for the tip.)

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