2009 has been a good year for horror at the box office (I don't have official statistics, but there have been a surprising number of genre flicks that have opened in the top spot or exceeded their earning estimates), but apparently it's also been a fantastic year for horror in video games.

A technology article posted today at Reuters cites financial figures from Wedbush Morgan Securites' video game analyst Michael Pachter, numbers that show horror games posted 147 million dollars in sales in 2009--up from 131 million in 2008. That makes 2009 a record year for games designed to creep out their audience.

While there have been a large number of horror titles released on the console and PC this year that have added to the overall haul, it's Capcom's popular Resident Evil series that's done the bulk of the heavy lifting. 2009 saw the release of Resident Evil 5, a game that has sold 1.94 million copies to date according to the NPD Group's tracking numbers. Pachter says that while other games in the genre have done well, "to date, the "Resident Evil" brand is exactly half of all sales."

The franchise will have an opportunity to build on that impressive figure with the November debut of Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii. Other recent and upcoming horror game releases include Dead Space: Extraction, Saw: The Video game, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, and the eagerly anticipated Left 4 Dead 2.

2010 boasts the potential for even bigger numbers, with games like EA's Dante's Inferno and Dead Space 2 looming on the horizon. Asked why horror games were suddenly so popular, Robert Englund offered this observation: "Halloween gives fans the chance to dress up in costumes and celebrate horror, but videogames are the best way for fans to actually participate in these worlds." That might give some parents out there cause for alarm, but the sentiment is still accurate.
CATEGORIES Movies, Horror