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US Video Game Industry Reports Double-Digit Gains

March 20, 2009

The US video game industry appears to remain resilient in the face of the recession, as it reported a 10 percent increase in game sales and an 11 percent rise in hardware sales during February, according to research group NPD on Thursday.

Overall, US video game sales reached $1.47 billion last month. Game software sales rose to $733.5 million and hardware sales jumped $532.7 million, NPD said.

Nintendo Co.’s Wii console led the pack with 753,000 units sold. Its Wii Fit exercise video game was the most sold in February with 644,000 copies.

Meanwhile, Nintendo’s portable Nintendo DS system took second with 588,000 units sold.

Microsoft Xbox 360 console sold 391,000 units, representing a 53 percent increase from the previous year. Sony sold 276,000 units of its PlayStation 3 console.

“What it tells you about this economy is that there are a couple of categories of consumer that are just going to get what they want,” Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter told Reuters.

“I think that what this is telling you is that guys who buy video games have no clue that we’re in a recession,” he said.

“Unit sales increased even more than dollar sales did, reflecting a slightly lower average retail price for all categories as compared to last year,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement.

In January, Microsoft reported the best year to date in 2008 for its Xbox 360. At that time, Microsoft reported 28 million units sold worldwide since its introduction in late 2005.

“For Xbox, 2008 will be remembered around the world as a pivotal growth year at retail and online — even in the face of tough economic conditions,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.

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