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The retail market of video games and video game consoles continues to grow in the U.S. due to the fact that people are cutting their spending and switching to in-home entertainment instead of going out. The situation greatly helps entertainment industry in general as well as video games in particular. According to NPD Group, sales of video game hardware and software increased by more than 50% year-over-year in June.

U.S. Video Game Market Sets New Records

“The video games industry continues to perform in the face of an ever-increasingly difficult economic environment as many turn to more in-home entertainment. Even if growth slows over the back half of 2008, the industry is poised to achieve record-breaking revenues of over $22B for the year,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst of video games at NPD Group.

Spending on video games in the USA in June increased to $1.69 billion, up 53% annually, a very impressive boost. End-users spent 615.1 million on video game consoles, $872.6 million on software and $202 million, up 54%, 61% and 25%, respectively, year-over-year. According to NPD, accessories for Nintendo Wii represent about 33% of all sales.

“Accessory sales growth slowed slightly this month but still increased 25% over last June. Accessories for the Wii contributed one-third of total category sales, and the new games and accessories that Nintendo announced at E3 should engender future accessory sales,” said Ms. Frazier.

Wii Continues to Outsell PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Combined

Thanks to the launch of Metal Gear Solid 4, a title exclusively available on Sony PlayStation 3, the game console managed to outsell its main rival Xbox 360 by two times with 405.5 thousand systems sold. Still, Nintendo sold through 666.7 million Wii consoles, which is again more than PS3 and Xbox 360 unit sales combined. In fact, Microsoft also managed to increase sales of its machine quite tangibly compared to May ‘08 and June ’07, however, this was not enough to outsell competitors. Sony’s previous-generation PlayStation 2 also did surprisingly well, considering the fact that it is more than seven years old.

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“Platform-exclusive content usually fuels hardware system purchases, and PS3 sales certainly reflect the impact of Metal Gear Solid 4. PS3 unit sales were the highest of any month outside of that recorded during previous November/December holiday timeframes,” explained Ms. Frazier.

Handheld game consoles also managed to demonstrate a steer increase in sales compared to May, the market tracking firm claims. If in May about 452.6 thousand of Nintendo DS game consoles were sold, then in June the number grew by 73% to 783 thousand of units. Moreover, Sony PlayStation Portable demonstrated even more impressive 85% unit sales boost by improving monthly sales from 182.3 thousand in May to 337.4 thousand in June.

Metal Gear Solid 4 Tops the Chart

Metal Gear Solid 4: Gun of the Patriots topped the video game sales chart in June. It is interesting to note that unit actual sales of the title – including the copies that were sold bundled with the PS3 – are not much below those of Grand Theft Auto 4, which means that the MGS4 has all chances to become one of the top selling games in 2008.

“As expected, Metal Gear Solid 4 realized significant retail sales and drove PS3 hardware acquisition.  While the [chart] does not include units bundled with hardware, if included MGS4 sold-through nearly 1 million units,” said NPD analyst.

Despite of being in retail for over 16 months now, Nintendo Wii Play is still exceptionally popular and half of those who buy Wii, get the title as well.

Wii Play continues to achieve an attach rate of over 50% to every new Wii hardware system sale.  I can't think of another game that has ever had that kind of performance after 16 months at retail,” Ms. Frazier claimed.

“At the title level, Lego Indiana Jones captured the top sales spot for the month at 1.1 million units sold across all platforms. As Iron Man did last month, mass-friendly titles are a perfect fit for the still healthy PS2 platform, and the PS2 version of this game grabbed a spot in the top 10 list,” said Anita Frazier.


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