Nintendo's Wii again No. 1 new game console

LOS ANGELES Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:50pm EDT

In this file photo a sales clerk grabs bags containing the Nintendo Wii on the day of its Japanese launch at an electronics retail shop in Tokyo December 2, 2006. Nintendo Wii was again the No. 1 current-generation video game console, selling 259,000 units in the United States in March, according to market research firm NPD. REUTERS/Kiyoshi Ota

In this file photo a sales clerk grabs bags containing the Nintendo Wii on the day of its Japanese launch at an electronics retail shop in Tokyo December 2, 2006. Nintendo Wii was again the No. 1 current-generation video game console, selling 259,000 units in the United States in March, according to market research firm NPD.

Credit: Reuters/Kiyoshi Ota

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. sales of video games, devices and accessories rose 33 percent to $1.1 billion in March, propelled by sales of new video game consoles like the popular Wii from Nintendo Co. Ltd.7974.OS, market research firm NPD said on Thursday.

The Wii was again the No. 1 current-generation video game console, selling 259,000 units. That $250 console uses a motion-sensitive controller that has been popular with mainstream gamers as well as new audiences like females, senior citizens and very young children.

Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT.O) Xbox 360 U.S. unit sales were 199,000 in March and outpaced Sony Corp.'s (6758.T)(SNE.N) PlayStation 3 unit sales of 130,000. The high-end versions of those machines sell for $400 and $600, respectively.

Sony's last-generation PlayStation 2 continued to see strong sales with consumers picking up 280,000 units. The PS2, which now sells for $130, was the leading console in the last generation with lifetime unit sales of 38 million in the United States.

Console dollar sales nearly doubled in March to hit $257 million.

In the hand-held category, sales of the Nintendo DS hit 508,000 in March, ahead of Sony's PlayStation Portable, or PSP, with 180,000. Portable game hardware sales rose by about one-third to $114 million.

Overall game sales were up 15 percent to $574 million.

Sony's "God of War II" for the PS2 topped the game charts with 833,000 units sold, followed by "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter" from UbiSoft (UBIP.PA) and Activision Inc.'s (ATVI.O) "Guitar Hero II," each for the Xbox 360.

Video game sales have been on the rebound following last year's change to new console technology.

Overall video game related sales rose 54 percent in the first three months of 2007, to $3.3 billion, NPD said.

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