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Wednesday, 27 January 2010 09:22

Nintendo dominates Australia

Nintendo Australia has released its reaction to 2009 sales figures and it is mildly chuffed, likewise both Microsoft and Sony are equally chuffed in their outlook for the Australian video game industry.

The top six selling games in Australia during 2009 were all Nintendo branded software for the Wii.  Wii Fit, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Play, Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Wii Fit Plus (bundle – includes Wii Balance Board) topped the figures released by research group GfK Retail and Technology Australia.

This has pleased Nintendo Austrlia:  “2009 was an exciting year for Nintendo”, says Nintendo Australia Managing Director Rose Lappin. “We released a new console with Nintendo DSi and some great games, as well as Wii MotionPlus. 2010 looks to be a big year for Nintendo again, we have Nintendo DSi® XL coming, as well as some big titles across both consoles.”

As in the US market Nintendo’s hardware continued to outpace rivals in Australia, though both Sony and Microsoft did have strong years under the shadow of the GFC.

For calendar year 2009, Nintendo recorded hardware unit sales share of 67 per cent for both Wii and Nintendo DS – 35 per cent for Nintendo DS and 32 per cent for Wii. The total gaming market was up 4 per cent in value and 7 per cent in units in 2009, compared to 2008.

According to Nintendo Australia: GfK Retail and Technology Australia confirm that, as of Week 1 2010, Nintendo DS - inclusive of all Nintendo DS models - is the highest selling console in Australia since the independent market research company started tracking sales in 2000. Nintendo DS can also claim the title of highest selling console for four years running, 2006 – 2009, and has sold through more than 2.5 million units in Australia. In 2009, Nintendo DS sold through more than 760,000 units.

Wii also continued to perform well throughout 2009, currently the home console has sold more than 1.7 million units in Australia. In 2009, Wii sold through more than 730,000 units- this is a record for a home video game console.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which only launched in November 2009, sold through more than 200,000 units in only seven weeks, making it the only game to sell through 200,000 units, on any one format, this quickly.

Other Wii games that have performed well include Mario Kart and Wii Fit. Mario Kart Wii has sold through more than 500,000 units in just 87 weeks, and Wii Fit has sold through more than 740,000 units and has been the highest selling game in both 2008 and 2009! The upgrade to Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus (with Wii Balance Board) has sold through more than 152,000 units, bringing the total number of Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus users to more than 896,000. This shows that more and more people are getting into at home fitness with Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. More than 134,000 owners of the original Wii Fit also upgraded their product by purchasing Wii Fit Plus standalone (without Wii Balance Board), bringing the total number of Wii Fit Plus sales (including both the standalone and bundle) to more than 286,000 units.


Unlike the US video game market – this dropped eight percent from the year before - the Australian market actually rose four percent over 2008.

Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) was happy to talk u Australia’s seemingly unique place in the global video game market.

“Australia’s interactive entertainment industry continues to maintain sales despite the global economic slowdown.  Video games remain a popular household pastime that can be played by the entire family.  Whilst a modest increase, we need to view this against a very tough economic environment and avoid comparing it to last year  where consumers  used their Government stimulus package to invest in a form of entertainment that brings the whole family together and can be enjoyed time and time again,” said Curry

Software sales increased by 6 per cent from last year and hardware sales remain steady with 2.247 million units sold in 2009 compared to 2.249 million units sold in 2008.
Sales for gaming peripherals also experienced an increase of 31 per cent, which is no surprise considering the sheer numbers of households in the country that now have consoles.

‘Family Games’ remain key to the industry’s stability proving to be the best selling genre for the second year in a row.  27 per cent of all games sold were from the ‘Family Games’ genre – up 11 per cent from 2008.  The second most popular genre was Action, making up 15 per cent of all games sold.

iTWire Colleague, Stephen Withers has already given Microsoft Australia and New Zealand’s glowing report for 2009 , Xbox 360 install base up 12 percent and many the 34 percent increase in online time spent on Xbox LIVE, but Sony also had a fantastic year down under.


2009 saw a price cut and a whole new slim line PS3 model, not to mention PS3 give-aways with BRAVIA LCD TV sales brought many Australians into the Sony fold.

In fact 2009 saw a 27 percent growth to PS3 sales, Sony says: PlayStation 3 (PS3) experienced the highest percentage of growth in console hardware units in the industry. PS3 enjoyed a 27% hardware unit sales growth for the calendar year, outstripping the industry hardware growth and that of competitors PS3, combining all hardware, software and peripherals, represented a 19% total value share of the industry by platform, accounting for AUD$394 million of industry revenue. During 2009, SCE Aust. installed an additional 318,000 PS3 devices into Australian homes, taking the lifetime installed base to 770,000 units. Almost 30% of all PS3 units were installed since the successful launch of the new, slimmer PS3 model on 3rd September 2009.

Michael Ephraim, Managing Director SCE Australia & New Zealand, commented on the figures, “2009 was really the year that PlayStation 3 hit its stride. These results clearly show a positive response from Australian consumers to the new PS3 model, available at a more affordable price, resulting in a massive uptake as the ultimate game and interactive entertainment system for the home.”
“2009 was also the year when more families began to enjoy the value entertainment offering of PS3, where gaming is just the start of the PlayStation experience. From the successful launch of PlayTV™ and catch up TV services, to driving the continued growth of the Blu-ray format, consumers were drawn to PS3 for a whole variety of reasons this year and we expect this to continue in 2010 as we diversify and evolve as the entertainment hub of the living room.”

Sony was also very happy with the awareness and sales growth of Blu-ray as a viable alternative to DVD in Australian homes:  GfK data shows the increase in Blu-ray household penetration in Australia doubled year on year in 2009, from 6% to 12% of all households. With film studios ramping up their offering of both new release and catalogue content, PS3 still holds the number one place as Australia's preferred BD device in the home. PS3 accounts for over 75% of all Blu-ray players in Australian homes.

The final word on the Australian video game and interactive entertainment industry goes to iGEA’s Ron Curry; “Despite a challenging economic climate, interactive entertainment has proven to offer families good value entertainment.  We expect that in 2010 the industry will continue to maintain its steady sales performance as playing video games becomes as popular as watching television or surfing the net.”

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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