Canadian video game sales dip for the first time since 2002

Looks like the gaming industry isn’t recession-proof. According to market research firm The NPD Group, Canadian first quarter retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories dipped nearly 8.5 % year-over-year. The figures represent the first-ever decline in sales since NPD first began tracking the category in 2002.

The portable hardware and console hardware categories showed the strongest declines at 21 and 14.5 per cent respectively for the January 1 to March 31, 2009 period. The portable software and console software categories saw more modest declines of 1.5 and 7.5 per cent, while the accessories category exhibited a slight growth of three per cent.

Although the industry as a whole experienced a dip in numbers, the figures show promising growth in software sales for next generation consoles. Sony’s PS3, and Nintendo’s Wii and DS console systems experienced double-digit software growth at 35, 24.5 and 17.5 per cent respectively. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 also experienced positive software sales growth at six per cent. Conversely, Sony’s PS2 and PSP, Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance and Game Cube and Microsoft’s Xbox all saw dramatic declines in software sales figures, signalling these consoles may be near their end of life.