According to NPD's latest data, 2011 was a down year for the video game industry, with total retail sales coming in at $17.02 billion. That's an eight percent decline from 2010, but Microsoft appears to be immune to the downturn — the Xbox 360 was the top selling console every month in 2011 and outsold the second-place console (according to NPD) by 2.7 million units. As if it wasn't clear, Kinect appears to have given the six-year-old Xbox 360 a major boost, with 18 million units sold after just a little more than a year on the market.
While motion control helped give the Xbox 360 a second life, it seems that the PlayStation Move didn't provide as much of a bump for the PS3. There's also the combination of all three consoles being on the downside of their lifecycles, the continued poor economy throughout 2011, and the fact that NPD's numbers don't include online sales (either through retailers like Amazon or through sources like Steam). In fact, NPD is working with research firm EEDAR to provide more accurate global sales data that includes retail as well as digital and online sales, and while we dont know when we'll see this data, we'll be looking for it to provide a clearer picture of the market in the future.