As it turns out, Xbox 360 owners really like their Arcade games: XBLA sales generated over $100 million dollars last year.
According to a report from Forecasting and Analysing Digital Entertainment (FADE), Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service had quite the good year in 2009 even as the rest of the economy crumbled. XBLA sales for '09 were estimated at $103.4 million (£65.9m), which was a 34% increase from 2008 - partially due to an increase of sales, but partially due to an increase in the average price of XBLA games: $8.33 (in 2008) to $9.12 (in 2009), with the vast majority of the year's bestsellers priced at $15.
Interestingly enough, FADE's analysis states that the average Xbox Live user spent $2.79 on the service over 2009, which was actually down from 2008. I'm not sure how to wrap my head around this one, since obviously $2.79 is much less than most XBLA games command, so it would seem to be averaging XBLA sales between everybody connected to Xbox Live (which, at Microsoft's last reveal, would be over 20 million consoles) ... so if I'm reading this right, while sales were up overall, they didn't quite keep pace with the growth of Xbox Live in general over the past year.
The year's top games were The Behemoth's Castle Crashers and EA DICE's Battlefield 1943, estimated to sell over a million copies and over 800,000 copies, respectively. FADE's full list of the top ten XBLA games by revenue is below:
Estimated Top Titles by Revenue, 2009 (Average Price)
-Battlefield 1943 (EA Dice) - $12.5 million ($15.00)
-Castle Crashers (The Behemoth) - $7.3 million ($15.00)
-Trials HD (RedLynx, LTD) - $7.1 million ($15.00)
-Shadow Complex (Chair Entertainment / Epic Games) - $6.1 -million ($14.38)
-Family Game Night (Hasbro) - $4.2 million ($9.53)
-Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (Capcom) - $4.2 million ($15.00)
-Magic: The Gathering (Stainless Games) - $2.8 million ($10.00)
-Worms 2 (Team 17) - $1.8 million ($10.00)
-Peggle (PopCap Games) - $1.8 million ($8.86)
-Turtles in Time: Reshelled (Ubisoft Singapore) - $1.7 million ($10.00)
I'm not quite sure why BF1943 is above Castle Crashers if the latter was estimated at selling 200,000 more copies than the former, but I'm sure there's some honest explanation that isn't actually "We're bad at math," I just don't know what it is.