Hasbro is the world's largest game publisher. A look at its annual report shows that sales of games and puzzles has been trending upwards recently, although not by huge amounts.
Compared to its other classes of products, though games are steady sellers.
For example, in 2005 Hasbro sold $1,246,422,000 worth of games and puzzles. This increased to $1,294,110,000 in 2006 and $1,323,641,000 in 2007. These are gains of 3.8% and 2.2%, respectively.
In contrast, sales of Boys' toys actually declined 21% from 721,770,000 in 2005 to $575,841,000 in 2006, before rebounding 78% in 2007 to $1,024,023,000! Girls' toys, Preschool toys and Tweens toys are also subject to wide swings year-to-year based on the appeal of "hot" toys and fads.
Obviously games and puzzles are much less volatile than other categories for Hasbro, providing a steady sales base.
What's also apparent, however, is that games are not a wildly growing sector, either. The company provides no breakdown between games and puzzles, so it's not possible to tell what effect puzzles may have on overall sales, but I suspect puzzles are a very steady part of the business. No one puzzle is likely to take the country by storm and become a big hit, but puzzle lovers probably maintain a steady purchasing pattern over time because a solved puzzle no longer holds much appeal. This is rather different than popular games, which rely in large part on their replayability for their appeal.
This steady growth of game sales ought to provide some comfort to game hobbyists, because it implies that the pastime is holding its own despite the competition from other entertainment forms. On the other hand, there's scant evidence that games are becoming more popular, either.