“You’re really seeing that those top hits are the most important thing in the industry. And getting into that top-tier release is more important than ever before.”

When Klotz looks at platform-by-platform, the Wii numbers are most significant. “13 percent of the SKUs that were released on the Wii account for 80 percent of the sales.” The other platforms, he says, are closer to the 80/20 principle.

And in 2008, Wii produced some especially stunning numbers, according to Klotz: “When you’re looking at the Wii, what’s really interesting is, when you look at 2008, the top ten SKUs accounted for 44 percent of the sales. There were 432 titles available in the market for the Wii… strictly retail.”

“You’re looking at 422 titles that are competing for the remaining 56 percent of the sales,” Klotz tells Gamasutra. He compares that to the PS2, PS3, and Xbox 360, where the top ten games only account for 31 percent to 32 percent of the sales.

“Those top ten games are such a huge piece of the Wii business,” says Klotz. “And if you look at the top ten titles for the Wii, it’s Mario Kart, Wii Fit, Wii Play.

“It speaks to the amazing job Nintendo does, producing games for their own platforms,” concludes Klotz.

-NPD analyst Michael Klotz