At the beginning of 2010 just about everyone following the video game retail market figured that this year couldn't be nearly as dismal as 2009. After all, during 2009 the software revenue reported by the U.S. retail tracking NPD Group had fallen 10% from the 2008 – the industry had surely put the worst of its declines behind it.
Now, with three complete quarters of 2010 in the past, software sales have contracted another 8.4% and there are few reasons to think the trend will reverse itself before the year is out.
There are bright spots among the general gloom. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are having their best years ever, which has to please their respective manufacturers. The biggest launch of the year, Halo: Reach, shot directly to the top of the year-to-date software sales chart after consumers snapped up over 3 million copies during launch.