The launch of next-gen consoles such as the PS3 and Wii, and the popularity of the Xbox 360 have driven Australian sales of games consoles and software higher than ever before, according to the gaming industry body.
The Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA) reported the gaming industry nearly doubled its sales in 2007, with figures soaring up to $1.3 billion. The figure confirms a new sales record for Australia’s gaming industry.
The 43.6 percent increase in sales from 2006 to 2007 is a significant jump from the 7 percent sales increase recorded for 2005 to 2006.
According to IEAA CEO Ron Curry, this dramatic boost is largely driven by the release of next-generation gaming consoles.
“Last year, Australians welcomed the arrival of the PS3 and marked a full year since the release of the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. The launch of highly anticipated next generation gaming drove console sales to almost $500 million, nearly double the $270 million sold in 2006. Sales figures also indicate a resurging popularity in handheld consoles with 2.3 million units of software for the Nintendo DS system purchased last year compared to the 840,000 purchased in 2006,” says Curry.
Despite the hype around the new consoles, Microsoft said that overall, Australians purchased more units of Xbox 360 products – including hardware, software and accessories – than for any other next-generation platform. Third-party publishers sold more software on Xbox 360 than on both other next-generation platforms combined, and the best-selling game across all console formats during 2007 was Halo 3, selling over 120,000 units, according to the company.
But the IEAA CEO said the rising median age of the Aussie gamer has also played a significant role in the sales jump.
“The gaming industry is no longer a niche market appealing only to traditional gamers. With a wide variety of games available, interactive entertainment is attracting people from all ages and all walks of life. It is interesting to note that as more Australians embrace the most advanced gaming innovations and purchase the latest games, the average age of gamers has risen to 28 years old.”
Market research group GfK Australia found Australians purchased 15.4 million games last year, with one third of all games (almost 6 million) sold in the last quarter in the lead up to Christmas.
Sony Computer Entertainment said it sold 175,000 PlayStation systems (PS3, PS2 and PSP) alone in the 6 week lead up to Christmas, 48,000 of these were PS3 consoles.
“We are delighted to have finished the year off in such a strong position, with all three of the PlayStation platforms performing extremely well. Encouragingly, across the industry we are seeing interactive entertainment being embraced by an ever increasing number of consumers of all ages,” said SCE Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, Michael Ephraim.
“In addition to the units sold through our retail partners, we have also enjoyed some very successful sales promotions,” added Ephraim. “In particular, the current bonus PS3 promotion, offered with every Sony Full HD Bravia LCD TV purchased, has seen a considerable number of redemptions to date.”
IEAA will be announcing next sales figures in July 2008.