December video game sales up 4%

Americans spent more than $5.5 bil on gaming hardware

NEW YORK -- U.S. video game sales climbed 4% in December from a year earlier, capping a rough 12 months for the industry.

Market researcher NPD Group said Thursday that Americans spent more than $5.5 billion on gaming software, hardware and accessories last month.

NPD says sales of gaming systems jumped 16% to $2.2 billion. The Nintendo Wii sold more units than its rival PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 combined.

Software sales, however, took a hit. People spent less than $2.6 billion on games in December, down 7% from a year earlier.

For all of 2009, total game sales dropped 8%, to $19.7 billion. This is down from a record $21.4 billion in 2008.