The numbers are in, and over the course of 2008, the year's best-seller was an additional remote for the Nintendo Wii. Oh, and there was a game that went along with it or something.
If you've been even cursorily following the games industry these days, you're probably aware that Nintendo's plucky Little Console That Could has been absolutely demolishing the competition left and right. NPD Group's official sales numbers reflect this: Not only was the Wii the first console to ever sell more than 10 million units in a single calendar year, but the best-selling game of 2008 was Wii Play.
Wii Play, incidentally, came out in February 2007 - and would have been the #1 seller that year if not for Halo 3. In an industry where most games sell the vast majority of copies in a short period of time right after release, this sort of longevity - let alone dominance - is absolutely unheard of, particularly for a console game (PC games tend to have longer shelf lives, just ask The Sims and pretty much any Blizzard title).
The top four were all Nintendo titles; Mario Kart Wii nabbed second place, with Wii Fit and Super Smash Bros. Brawl following up. I didn't even think they made 4.5 million Wii Fit balance boards.
Grand Theft Auto IV for the 360 broke the Wii stranglehold on the list at #5 (its PS3 counterpart took 8th place), followed by Call of Duty: World at War and Gears of War 2. The presence of perennial frat-boy football-fest Madden NFL 09 on the list at #9 is hardly surprising, but the #10 game is a bit of a headscratcher: Nintendo returned to the list with Mario Kart DS, a game that was released in ... November 2005?
Really, Mario Kart DS? The DS may have sold 3 million units in December '08, which is admittedly surprising if you haven't been paying attention to the fact that there's a recession going on, and in a recession people buy more inexpensive products, but ... no, seriously. Mario Kart DS.
Sure, it was a great game, but it's more than 3 years old by now. Its presence on the top 10 console games sold of 2008 is more of a head-scratcher than anything else on that list.
The full list, if you're interested:
1. Wii Play (released February 2007) 5.28 million
2. Mario Kart Wii (released April 2008) 5.00 million
3. Wii Fit (released May 2008) 4.53 million
4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (released March 2008) 4.17 million
5. Grand Theft Auto IV (360) (released April 2008) 3.29 million
6. Call of Duty: World at War (360) (released November 2008) 2.75 million
7. Gears of War 2 (released November 2008) 2.31 million
8. Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3) (released April 2008) 1.89 million
9. Madden NFL 09 (360) (released August 2008) 1.87 million
10. Mario Kart (DS) (released November 2005) 1.65 million
(Via What They Play)