The Best-Selling Wii Games Of 2009 Didn't Come Out In 2009

An analysis by website Gamasutra of first-half sales figures for the three big gaming consoles shows that the Wii's hits are older hits.

Gamasutra has crunched the NPD video game sales numbers and the results show that the top five best-selling games on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 in the U.S. from January to the end of June were, save one 360 title, all released in 2009. The likes of UFC Undisputed, Resident Evil 5, Halo Wars and Killzone 2 top the charts, with just the Xbox 360 version of 2008's Call of Duty: World at War being the lone game from yesteryear.

The Wii, however, boasts just EA Sports Active among its five best-sellers of 2009 so far. The other four slots are taken up by Wii Fit (at #1), Wii Play (#2), Mario Kart Wii (#3) and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (#5).

The Wii news can be viewed in positive or negative lights. On the one hand, it suggests that no 2009 Wii offerings — not Punch-Out!, not Boom Blox Bash Party, not Sega's trio of hardcore-oriented originals — could garner top-level sales. But it also is a sign that the Wii, more so than its competitors, has managed to cultivate evergreen games that sell year after year.

Evergreen games are not unique to the Wii. In the previous hardware generation, the Grand Theft Auto games were monthly top-list entries on the PlayStation 2. Halo and Halo 2 consistently ranked among the best-selling games on the Xbox.

But the extent to which the Wii has established a selection of mainstay titles is striking in both how it compares to the competition and what it suggests about the longevity of games made for the platform. Critics long ago said Nintendo's console didn't have the power to run titles that would age well and seem relevant in a modern gaming market. That's proven to be wrong.

NPD: Behind the Numbers, June 2009 [Gamasutra]