Wii makes it another great games month

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Fueled by the continued strong performance of Nintendo's Wii, combined sales of video game hardware, software and accessories in March jumped 33% to $1.1 billion, according to tracking firm the NPD Group.

Wii has notched more than 1 million systems sold in the U.S. this year, while Nintendo's hand-held DS stands just shy of 1.25 million sales for the same period. Wii remains the fastest-selling new console in more than a decade, based on NPD sellthrough information for the first five months of availability. So far this year, Nintendo has sold more video game systems than all other manufacturers combined.

Game accessories were up 48% in March to $145 million, thanks in large part to sales of Wii peripherals.

Overall sales of software were up 13% to $574 million in March, while console game hardware sales surged 93% to $257 million. Overall hardware generated $370 million, up 69% over March 2006.

Sony's PlayStation 2 continued to sell well at $130, while the PlayStation 3, now available only as a $600 console, lagged in last place in the console war. Sony sold 280,000 PS2s and 130,000 PS3s in March, Nintendo sold 259,000 Wii systems, and Microsoft sold 199,000 Xbox 360s.

Nintendo also has had continued success in the portable gaming space, which was up 33% to $114 million for March. The DS led all game hardware with sales of 508,000 for the month. Nintendo also sold 148,000 Game Boy Advances last month. Sony sold 180,000 PlayStation Portables in March.

In the top games category, in less than one month, "God of War II" has become the top-selling game of the first quarter with sales of 833,000 units in March. Ubisoft's "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter" on Xbox 360 sold 394,000 units, and Activision sold 291,000 copies of "Guitar Hero II" for its Xbox 360 launch.

Disney Interactive's "Spectrobes" for Nintendo DS broke the Top 10, as did Electronic Arts' "Def Jam Icon" for Xbox 360. Two baseball games topped March sales, as well, Sony's "MLB 07: The Show" for PS2 and 2K Sports "Major League Baseball 2K7" for Xbox 360.

Four of the top 10 games of March were for Xbox 360, two were for PS2, two were for Nintendo DS, one was for Wii (Wii Play w/ Remote with 273,000 units sold) and one for PS3 (MotorStorm with 199,000 copies sold). Only two of the top 10 games of March were rated Mature; five were rated Everyone and three Teen.

For the first quarter of 2007, overall game sales climbed to $3.3 billion, up 54% from last year. Game software sales were $1.6 billion, up 30%, and game hardware sales doubled to $1.3 billion.
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