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DFC Intelligence has forecast worldwide videogame and interactive entertainment industry revenue to reach USD 57 billion in 2009 with no signs of slowing due to slumping economies and expensive hardware.

"Consumer spending on software is at record levels and the game business seems to actually benefit from a recession because games are a relatively cheap form of home entertainment," said DFC analyst David Cole.

According to DFC, there are now 11 countries that have annual videogame revenue in excess of USD 1 billion.

The DFC report forecasts sales for each of the major game platforms, expecting the Nintendo Wii to be the best-selling console system of this generation.

"The Wii does not appear to be a fad and it has the chance to be one of the best selling systems of all-time," says Cole.

Despite the Wii's success, third-party publishers must contend with Nintendo's dominance as a software publisher.

"For many third-party publishers this means they will have much greater success on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, even if Wii sales continue to be strong," said analyst Jeremy Miller in another DFC report looking at expected sales by platform and genre for the next two years.

According to DFC estimates, the PlayStation 3 is expected to equal the Wii in annual software sales by 2012, with the Xbox 360 remaining a leading player in some of the top markets - most notably the US and UK.