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Video Game Sales On The Rise

May 14, 2011

Console and portable video game sales grew by 26 percent in April compared to the same time period last year, an increase that research firm The NPD Group attributes to a stronger lineup of games such as “Call of Duty: Black Ops” and “Mortal Kombat 2011.”

Five titles sold more than a quarter-million units in April, versus just two a year ago, said the firm after the market closed on Thursday.

The NPD Group said total US video game industry sales came in at $961.2 million in April 2011 compared to $802.4 million the previous April — a 20 percent climb.

Software paved the way with 26 percent sales increase. That figure does not include PC game software. Including PC games, the figure was a 24 percent increase.

In a release accompanying the monthly report, analyst Anita Frazier said that April was the first month since November of last year that video game sales saw jumps in both dollars and units sold.

“The content slate was stronger this year versus last April,” said Frazier. More than 3.5 million games were sold for consoles in April.

The top selling games of April were “Mortal Kombat 2011,” “Portal 2,” “Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars,” “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” and “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters,” according to NPD.

In the hardware category, Microsoft’s Xbox360 sold 297,000 consoles in April. Microsoft said in a statement that the Xbox has been the top-selling console over Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii for 10 of the last 11 months.

Microsoft also said that Xbox sales were up 60 percent year-over-year, most likely driven by success of its Kinect motion controller. It said that the total number of games released with Kinect compatibility will triple by the end of the year.

In its own statement, Sony said that PS3 sales were up 13 percent year-over-year, with software increases of 40 percent in the same time period.

Sony has been working to restore its PlayStation Network, Qriocity and Sony Online Entertainment services after a severe hacking attack last month compromising more than 100 million accounts.

“We hope to have services restored as soon as we can,” Patrick Seybold, a Sony Computer Entertainment spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.

NPD does not measure game downloads and online games in its monthly retail sales data, so the numbers can often show a decline even if more people are playing games on their mobile phones or other digital devices, as well as Facebook.

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