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Video game market up in first quarter

Sales of games, consoles and accessories rose 18 percent over the previous quarter, according to NDP.

Retail sales of video games rose to $2.2 billion in the first quarter, according to new data released by The NDP Group.

The figures represent an increase of 18 percent over the last quarter of 2004, and growth of 23 percent compared with the first quarter of last year, the market researcher said.

Total unit sales rose to 63 million units. The revenue figure includes retail sales of portable and console hardware, software and accessories.

Console hardware and software saw the lowest percentage increases, of 8 percent and 7 percent, respectively, but in terms of dollars, console software saw the largest revenue of all categories, generating more than $1 billion, NDP said. The sale of portable game hardware was $293 million, representing growth of 162 percent compared with the same period last year.

"While we expected to see impressive sales in the portable categories," Anita Frazier, an entertainment industry analyst at NPD, said in a statement. "The fact that all categories saw positive sales growth in terms of both dollars and units is a real testament to the broadening appeal of video games as a form of entertainment."

Sony launched its PlayStation Portable in March. The company sold 620,000 units of hardware and 1.1 million pieces of software during that month, NPD said earlier.