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Nintendo (NTDOY) remains unstoppable in the latest cycle of video game consoles.

Sales of the company's popular Wii console ranked ahead of its rivals,


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PlayStation 3 and


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Xbox 360, according to the data released by the NPD group for the period March 4 to April 7.

The Wii sold 259,000 devices and came in third overall, followed by the Xbox 360 at 199,000 units. The PS3 sold 130,000 units, said NPD.

Nintendo's handheld DS topped sales with 508,000 consoles sold in March, followed by sales of 280,000 of Sony's PlayStation 2 console, To date, Nintendo has sold 10.4 million DS handhelds, while the PS2, which launched in 2000, has sold 38 million units.

Overall, video game industry sales, including hardware and software, rose 33% to $1.1 billion during the period. Overall hardware sales grew 69% over the same period last year to $370 million, and software sales posted 15% growth to $574 million compared to last year.

Console hardware sales grew 93% to $257 million in the March 4-to-April 7 period, said NPD.

For Sony, the data offered mixed news. While the company's older PS2 console continued to outsell newer offerings from competitors, sales of its latest PS3 console has a long way to go.

Still, Sony put a positive spin on the results. "PS3 was the only next-generation console to see a gain in March," the company said in a statement. "While PS3 saw a month-over-month increase of 2% with sales of 129,638 units, we continued to find ourselves supply constrained in March due to the shift in manufacturing focus to the PS3 PAL version to support the launch of the system in Europe." Sony launched the PS3 in Europe on March 23.

Wii sales fell 22%, and Xbox 360 sales were down 12%, said Sony.

Among game software publishers,

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came out tops while

Electronic Arts

( ERTS) disappointed.


Guitar Hero II

game for the Xbox 360 ranked third for the period and has sold 291,000 since its launch on April 3.

EA lost market share in March with quarter-to-date sales down 10%, tracking behind estimates, wrote Justin Post, an analyst for Merrill Lynch in a research note. EA's

Def Jam Icon

game for the 360 came in 10th on the charts with 148,999 games sold.

In the U.K., Electronic Arts had no game in the top 10. Post noted that EA has shipped versions of games such as



Medal of Honor


Command and Conquer

for the PC late in the quarter. Merrill Lynch makes a market in EA,



and Activision shares. THQ did not have a game in the top 10 during the period tracked by NPD.

Sony's game

God of War II

for the PS2 topped the game charts, while


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had one game in the top 10,

Major League Baseball 2K7

for the 360, which ranked No. 8.

The NPD data does not track sales from some very large retailers, including


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Shares of EA were off 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $51.73. Activision was up 19 cents, or 0.9%, to $20.43. Sony was up 15 cents, or 0.2%, to $54.54.