June's release of The Sims 3 bested World of Warcraft for the crown of 2009's best selling PC game, according to numbers released today by the NPD Group. Modern Warfare 2, despite a November release, was a strong fifth.
Dragon Age: Origins also saw a November release and also made the top 10, at No. 9. It was one of five games from 2009 to do so in a sector where titles have a longer sales lifespan than on consoles.
Clarification: This analysis covers retail boxed copies only; it does not account for digital sales.
Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion was the second place finisher; the franchise's Battle Chest remained a reliable seller at No. 4, and the five-year-old original version of the game is still No. 6.
Sega's Empire: Total War, at No. 10, was the only game not published by Activision or Electronic Arts to make the top 10 in retail boxed sales.
Overall, NPD reported that retail PC game revenues dropped 23 percent in 2009 from their 2008 totals. Michael Gallagher, the president of the Entertainment Software Assocation, countered that 2009 was the highest grossing sales year ever on record for the games industry.
The top 10 PC selling games of 2009 were:
1. The Sims 3
2. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Pack
3. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe
4. World of Warcraft: Battle Chest
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
6. World of Warcraft Blizzard Entertainment
7. The Sims 3: World Adventures Expansion Pack
9. Dragon Age: Origins
10. Empire: Total War