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Video game sales continue winning streak

August 15, 2008 | 12:28 pm

Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto plays Wii MusicVideo game sales are on a tear, showing no signs of being fazed by the economic malaise hitting just about every other sector of consumer spending.

In July, consumers spent nearly $9.5 billion on video games, consoles and peripherals, up from $7 billion in July 2007, according to estimates released Thursday afternoon by NPD Group, a market research firm.

Consoles accounted for $3.3 billion of the sales, and software sales totaled $4.9 billion.

But the rising tide hasn't lifted all boats equally. Nintendo captured much of the boom, selling 555,000 of its Wii consoles, compared with Sony's 224,900 PlayStation 3s and Microsoft's 204,800 Xbox 360s. Nintendo's DualScreen hand-held device rung up sales of 608,400 units, giving Nintendo a Christmas in July.

"PlayStation 3 gained momentum in July," said Jesse Divnich, director of analytical services for Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, a San Diego-based market research firm. "But the reason why the industry is up so much is because of Nintendo."

Electronic Arts' NCAA Football 09 was the top game, followed by Nintendo's Wii Fit and Activision Blizzard's Guitar Hero.

Here are the year-over-year monthly growth rates of U.S. software video game sales to date:

  • January: 12%
  • February: 48%
  • March: 64%
  • May: 69%
  • June: 61%
  • July: 48%

UBS Analyst Ben Schachter said in a research report released today about the July figures: "The industry keeps chugging along."

-- Alex Pham

Photo: Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto plays Wii Music at the E3 Media & Business Summit in July. Credit: Nintendo