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US video game sales grew 10 percent in November

The US video game industry recorded growth of 10 percent in November despite the recession that is ravaging other sectors of the economy, NPD said Thursday.

The U.S. video game industry recorded growth of 10 percent in November despite the recession that is ravaging other sectors of the economy, according to a closely-watched monthly report released late Thursday.

Total video games sales in November were US$2.9 billion, taking year-to-date spending on software and hardware to $16 billion, which is up 22 percent on 2007, the data from NPD Group showed. The monthly and year-to-date sales growth is slightly less than that recorded in October but the industry remains on track to achieve sales of $22 billion this year, NPD said.

"Certainly, the expanded audience for gaming due to the availability of a wider variety of compelling content is a strong contributor," NPD said of the market growth. "Economic factors are also at play given that a video game is a relatively inexpensive form of entertainment for the hours of value it provides."

Game software sales in the month totaled $1.45 billion, up 11 percent on the year, while sales of gaming hardware was $1.2 billion, up 10 percent. Accessories sales accounted for the remaining $255 million.

Once again the most popular console during the month was Nintendo's Wii with sales of 2 million units. The Xbox 360 was ranked in second place at 836,000 units followed by the PlayStation 3 at 378,000 units and the PlayStation 2 at 206,000 units. In the handheld market the Nintendo DS easily beat out the PlayStation Portable with sales of 1.6 million to 421,000 units.

"It's clear there can be more multiple victors this generation and while price is certainly a strong factor, particularly as the current economic situation continues to prevail, the most important factor that will drive success in 2009 will be the line-up of compelling games that will keep consumers involved in the industry," NPD said.

Two Xbox 360 titles topped the software sales ranking.

"Gears of War 2" came in top with sales of 1.6 million units followed by "Call of Duty: World at War" with sales of 1.4 million units. They were followed by three Wii games and the highest ranked PlayStation 3 game was in sixth place.

Top Ten best-selling games in the U.S. in November were, according to NPD Group:

1) Gears of War 2, Xbox 360, 1.56 million

2) Call of Duty: World at War, Xbox 360, 1.41 million

3) Wii Play, Wii, 796,000

4) Wii Fit, Wii, 697,000

5) Mario Kart, Wii, 637,000

6) Call of Duty: World at War, PlayStation 3, 597,000

7) Guitar Hero World Tour, Wii, 475,000

8) Left 4 Dead, Xbox 360, 410,000

9) Resistance 2, PlayStation 3, 385,000

10) Wii Music, Wii, 297,000