March 20, 2009 / 12:24 AM / 10 years ago

U.S. video game sales up 10 percent in February

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - U.S. video game sales rose 10 percent in February to $1.47 billion, led again by Nintendo’s blockbuster Wii console, as gaming continued to show resilience despite an economic downturn that has sapped consumer spending.

Visitors try out new software for Microsoft's video game console Xbox 360 at the Tokyo Game Show 2008 in Chiba, east of Tokyo, October 11, 2008. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Video game software sales climbed 9 percent in the month to $733.5 million while hardware sales rose 11 percent to $532.7 million, research group NPD said on Thursday.

The Wii console led the pack as the top-selling hardware device in the month, moving 753,000 units.

Cammie Dunaway, executive vice president of Nintendo America, said Wii hardware and software each rose about 75 percent on a unit basis.

“The exciting thing is, despite a soft economy, Nintendo’s business continues to grow really healthily.”

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the No. 2 console in the month, followed by Sony’s PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2.

Capcom’s Street Fighter IV was the best-selling game, moving a combined 849,000 units for the Xbox and the PS3, while the Wii Fit was No. 2 at 644,000. That was followed by Wii Play and Sony’s Killzone 2.

“What it tells you about this economy is that there are a couple of categories of consumer that are just going to get what they want,” said Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter.

He said the success of Street Fighter and Wii Fit shows that the industry’s strength lies at two seemingly opposite poles: the young, hardcore male consumer and families.

“I think that what this is telling you is that guys who buy video games have no clue that we’re in a recession,” he said.

Software unit sales rose 14 percent, but the average retail price for games fell 4 percent, NPD said.

One of the gaming industry’s biggest events of the year, the Game Developer’s Conference, will take place next week in San Francisco. An address on Wednesday from Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, will be a highlight.

Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Gary Hill

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