Game accessory sales up slightly, study says

Market research company NPD Group sees a 10 percent increase in first-quarter sales of game devices. Game pads, steering wheels and stick controllers account for much of the growth.

Retail sales of video game accessories remained static in 2003 but may be starting to pick up, according to market research company NPD Group.

In the first quarter, total U.S. sales of devices like controllers, memory cards and DVD remotes was $278 million, which represents a 10 percent increase, compared with the same period last year, according to NPD data released Monday. The company said it had seen increased sales of controllers such as game pads, steering wheels, stick controllers and specialty controllers.

In related news, new game hardware will be unveiled this week at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in Los Angeles. Last year, game devices represented a $1.2 billion market in the United States.

That figure reflects declining sales of products like vibration feedback and magnifier devices, which saw significant declines in 2003 and in the first quarter of 2004. These features are increasingly being integrated into other products, NPD said. Sales of DVD remotes for video game consoles also dropped during this period.

Meanwhile, sales of Internet components like network adapters and modems jumped. Sales were up 155 percent in 2003 and 107 percent in the first quarter, NPD said.

"This is a win-win situation for both consumers and the video games industry," Richard Ow, senior industry analyst, said in a statement. "Online gaming provides consumers with the ability to experience entirely new ways of playing video games, while the industry continues to see increased revenues through this alternative to offline gaming."