The handheld game market in the U.S. had a slight increase in 2005, according to a study released by research firm NPD. Total sales figures exceeded US$10.5 billion on consoles, games, handhelds, and accessories. That final figure reflected a 6-percent increase over 2004 sales.
Driving the record figures were booming sales of the Nintendo DS and Sony’s PSP.
However, NPD also announced that the survey found a 3-percent drop in sales of current consoles and a 12-percent freefall in game sales. A main factor in these drops seemed to be the late launch of Microsoft’s Xbox 360. The console didn’t hit the market until November, and demand so overwhelmed supply that retail entities couldn’t fill requests in the thousands. Even though Microsoft reported sales of 600,000, it wasn’t nearly enough either to satisfy consume demand or to boost overall console sales.
Sales of the PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox combined were down a full 19 percent, according to Michael Pachter, an analyst of Wedbush Morgan Securities.
How did the sales constitute a record then? The NPD study found that consumers in 2005 spend more money than ever before on hardware and that, more relevant, 2004 sales were not nearly as significant as those recorded in 2002, which were driven by the original launches of both GameCube and the original Xbox. Sales in 2002 were US$10.3 billion. Analysts said that an increase of just $.2 billion in three years could probably be termed a major disappointment.