Video Game Industry Enjoys Torrid Sales

The industry enjoyed a 57% jump in sales in March of software, hardware and accessories.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The video games industry showed no signs of a slowdown as the industry grew a whopping 57% in March from the same period a year ago to reach $1.7 billion in sales of game devices, software and accessories.

Nintendo's

blockbuster hit console Wii continued to outsell its rivals even as

Sony's

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PlayStation 3 seemed to close the gap against

Microsoft's

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Xbox 360 in March, according to the sales data from research firm, The NPD Group.

The Xbox 360 was released a year before PS3's 2006 launch, though Microsoft has blamed supply shortages over the last three months for its lower sales.

"You'd never know that the U.S. economy was under distress by looking at the video games industry sales figures," Anita Frazier, an analyst with the NPD group said in a statement.

Meanwhile, video games publisher

Activision

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gave up its

No. 1

title after four months to Nintendo, whose game

Super Smash Bros: Brawl

topped the charts.

Nintendo sold 698,000 Wiis in March (up from 432,000 in Feb.), compared to Sony's 257,000 PS3s (down from 280,800 PS3s), while Microsoft sold 262,000 Xbox 360s (better than 254,600 in Feb.)

Sony's older PlayStation 2 console stayed strong as it sold 216,000 consoles last month.

"In terms of the continued battle between the PS3 and Xbox 360, we were not surprised that both consoles fell relatively close to each other as neither system offered any significant first-party releases or new promotions to sway the trends," said Jesse Divnich, an analyst with industry research firm Electronic Entertainment Design and Research in a statement.

Among video games, Activision's monster hit,

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

slipped from the top spot on the charts in February to ninth in March, with 237,000 copies sold during the month.

Nintendo's

Super Smash Bros: Brawl's

top chart on the spot (2.7 million copies sold) was followed by

Ubisoft's

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2

game in the second spot (752,300 copies sold).

Electronic Arts'

(ERTS)

Army of Two

game for the Xbox 360 console came in third on the charts.

Other publishers that found a place on the top 10 include

Square Enix

with its game

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

for the PlayStation Portable in sixth, Activision's

Guitar Hero III

game for the Wii in seventh and

Take-Two Interactive's

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Major League Baseball 2K8

game in eighth.

Overall sales of games software was up 63% to $945.6 million from $579.1 million a year ago. Hardware sales rose 46% to $551.3 million last month.