More games and players in 2009, but fewer sales

The gaming industry wasn't immune to the economic turmoil around the globe in 2009, but it appears that more people are playing games -- even if they aren't necessarily buying "core" games. USA Today has a year-end piece noting that 2008's record $21.3 billion in US sales isn't in the cards this year, with NPD data revealing that, as of November, consumers bought 12.2 million consoles, compared to 14.2 million the year prior. An optimist could argue that'll be made up for in software sales, but we'll need to wait until January for that data.

EEDAR's Jesse Divnich reiterated that "the big games are getting bigger," indicating that blockbuster, marketed games are siphoning more sales from everyone else. Then again, casual games like Farmville on Facebook had 65 million players. A complication here is that retail sales may be declining (which is tracked by organizations like NPD), but we don't really know what goes on in closed digital distribution systems. The actual industry sales figures may be debatable, but we'll take the rise of casual games as a sign of demographic diversity within the industry.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.