chartI guess we can’t consider it a huge surprise anymore: Nintendo was the cream of the crop in 2008, selling both Wii consoles as well as DS handhelds much better than Sony or Microsoft managed to sell their consoles. And if you take a look at the graph to the left presenting the console sales of the previous year, you will see just how big were Nintendo’s sales by the end of the year.

According to the NPD Group who provided these charts, December 2008 was the first month in the history of the games industry when revenue has topped $5 billion (and to see how much the industry has grown, it’s worth mentioning that in 1997, the ANNUAL revenues were $5.1 billion!)

Of course, such a growth was possible thanks to Nintendo’s impressive sales. It is a huge surprise to see that DS sales were much bigger than Wii sales in December last year (3 million compared to 2.15 million Wiis sold). However, it was the Nintendo Wii console which broke the 10 million barrier in a 12 month period with 10.17 million units shifted throughout the year! The record was previously held by the DS, with 8.52 million units sold during 2007 (and the handheld was close of setting a new one last year, by selling 9.95 million units). Absolutely impressive sales for Nintendo!

Unfortunately, Microsoft and Sony were nowhere near such impressive figures. Although sales were good for the Xbox 360 (1.44 million units), compared to Nintendo’s sales, they just seem horribly low: “just” 4.74 million units sold in the US in 2008.

However, Sony and especially the PlayStation 3 are doing a lot worse: in both November and December PSP sales were actually bigger than those of PS3 consoles, which is not necessary good. This means that in December 1.02 million PSPs were sold while only 726,000 people purchased a PlayStation 3. Also, yearly sales of PlayStation Portbales were a bit higher than PS3 sales, with 3.81 million PSPs sold compared with 3.55 million PS3s.

Will things drastically change this year? Feel free to share your thoughts with us!