Video game industry posts big February gains

Again defying the recession, the industry saw 10 percent year-over-year sales increases across the board. Nintendo once again dominated hardware and software sales.

The video games industry continued to defy general economic realities in February, posting a 10 percent year-over-year sales increase and a 10.5 percent boost over January.

For the month of February, the industry recorded sales of $1.47 billion, up from $1.34 billion a year earlier, according to numbers released Thursday by industry analyst NPD Group. And the February numbers also outpaced January's $1.33 billion. In February, software accounted for $733.5 million in sales, while hardware and accessories came in at $532.7 million and $207.1 million, respectively.

According to NPD, Microsoft's Xbox 360 had its second best non-holiday-season sales month since its launch, with 391,000 units sold. But once again, it was Nintendo that had the best overall performance. It sold 753,000 Wii consoles, as well as 588,000 DS handheld systems. Those numbers were up 10.8 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively, over January.

Sony's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 didn't have quite as successful a February. The PS3 moved 276,000 units, while just 131,000 PS2s were sold. However, those figures did represent a 35.8 percent and a 29.4 percent jump over January. In February, Sony's PSP sold 199,000 units.

Nintendo also dominated the software sales side of things. Six of the top 10 best-selling titles in February were for either the Wii or the DS, including the repeat No. 1 performer, Nintendo's "Wii Fit.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier said March looks good for the industry as well, despite the recession, because of titles such as Halo Wars, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Resident Evil 5, and more.

"The sheer quantity of great content coming to market early in the year should keep industry sales humming throughout 2009," Frazier said in a statement.

 

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