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3/12/2010
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Microsoft Xbox Sales Top Wii, PS3

But sales of all gaming hardware, including the Sony PS2, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS, are down from a year ago.

Six months after being named the most unreliable video game console, with a failure rate eight times that of the Nintendo Wii and more than twice that of the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft's Xbox is topping sales charts.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the top selling video-game console in February, topping the Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3 for the first time since 2007.

Xbox 360 sales reached 422,000 units last month, while Sony shipped 360,100 PS3s and Nintendo 397,900 Wiis, according to The NPD Group. The Xbox 360 nabbed the top spot for the first time since September 2007, when the release of Halo 3 drove sales past rivals.

While PS3 came in third among the three video-game consoles, sales were 30% higher year-over-year, "even while retail supply is reported to remain constrained," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement released late Thursday.

Nevertheless, sales of all hardware, which also include the PS2, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS, were down from a year ago, NPD said. The industry as a whole, which includes hardware, software, and accessories, was also down, with unit sales declines greater than dollar sales, as a result of higher average retail prices in everything except console hardware.

"Honestly, I had expected the industry to perform somewhat better this month," Frazier said. "Nontheless, strong new releases, and Easter gift-buying bodes well for industry performance in March."

The video game industry, where the tradition of proprietary console hardware and high-margin physical media runs deep, is signaling a shift toward cloud-hosted gaming.

In the games category, the top 10 games were split among the three consoles: three each for the PS3 and Wii platforms and four for the Xbox 360. Bioshock 2 was the best-selling game in February, with more than 750,000 units sold.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 became the third-best selling game of all-time, with nearly 10 million units sold to date.

NPD tracks industry sales at retail stores. The numbers do not include online sales.

InformationWeek's GDC Coverage:

GDC: OnLive Takes Gaming To The Cloud

GDC: Sony Unveils PS3 Motion Controller

GDC: Microsoft Surface Plays Dungeons & Dragons

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