NPD Group reports video game sales in the US topped $21.33 billion in 2008, a 18.5 percent increase of last year's $18 billion but slightly below estimates.
"While industry growth has not continued at the blistering pace we saw during the second and third quarters, December's 9 percent increase over last December brings the year in 19 percent ahead of last year, and sets a new record for total industry sales," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier in an e-mail statement.
December marked the first time that the gaming industry's revenue topped $5 billion in a single month, she noted. In comparison, it took all of 1997 to hit industry sales of $5.1 billion.
While the Wii, with its easy-to-use motion controller and playful titles, has been basking in the spotlight since its 2006 launch, Nintendo's portable DS was the best-selling gaming system in December, topping 3 million units. The Wii, meanwhile, sold about 2.2 million units, up roughly 5 percent from November's levels.