The recession has led to studio closures and layoffs at stalwarts like EA and *THQ* in Q4, but the video-game industry actually fared well in 2008: sales of hardware, software and accessories topped $21.3 billion, up 19 percent from 2007, according to market research firm NPD Group. The best-selling title of the year was Wii Play, Nintendo’s primer that teaches players how to use the Wii console; consumers bought 5.28 million units.
— Holiday surge: Sales of gaming hardware, software and accessories hit $5.29 billion in December — the first time sales topped the $5 billion mark in a single month, according to NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier (via CNET). That’s up nearly 82 percent from November, in contrast to general retail sales, which were down 2.7 percent sequentially.
— Nintendo dominates: The company sold 2.15 million Wiis — taking the top spot in terms of consoles, and breaking a seven-year record with sales of the DS handheld. Consumers gobbled up 3.04 million of the devices in December, topping Sony’s previous record of 2.7 million sales of the PS2 in 2002 (per VentureBeat). Nintendo even had the best-selling game of the month: Wii Play, which sold 1.4 million units.
— *Microsoft*, *Sony* duke it out: Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) moved 1.44 million Xbox 360s and had the second-best-selling game of December, *Activision* Blizzard