U.S. video game sales show continued strength

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:38pm EST

Johanna Langill (L) and Maika Horjus play the video game SPORE at a launch party in San Francisco, California, September 4, 2008. REUTERS/Kimberly White

Johanna Langill (L) and Maika Horjus play the video game SPORE at a launch party in San Francisco, California, September 4, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Kimberly White

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - U.S. sales of video game hardware and software rose 13 percent in January from a year earlier, led by Nintendo Co Ltd's Wii console and DS hand-held systems, market researcher NPD said on Thursday.

The results presented more evidence that even in the middle of a brutal economic downturn, U.S. consumers are willing to spend on video games.

Total industry sales in the month climbed to $1.33 billion, NPD said.

Video game software sales rose 10 percent to $676.6 million while hardware sales surged 17 percent to $445.4 million. Sales of accessories grew 11 percent to $209.8 million.

Nintendo's Wii continued to be a hit with consumers, selling nearly 680,000 units, while the DS hand-held system sold more than 510,000 units.

Microsoft Corp's Xbox 360 sold 309,000 units in the month, while Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 sold 203,000.

Nintendo also had the three biggest-selling games of the month, "Wii Fit," "Wii Play," and "Mario Kart Wii." Electronic Arts Inc's "Left 4 Dead" and Activision Blizzard Inc's "Call of Duty: World at War" rounded out the top five.

(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Gary Hill)

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