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7/18/2008
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Video-Game Industry Headed For Record Year, Despite Troubled Economy

Store sales of video games and consoles in June soared 53% and 54%, while revenues from software and accessories rose 61% and 25%, the NPD Group said.

The U.S. video-game industry remains on track to achieve a record year of more than $22 billion in revenue, as people are apparently turning to in-home entertainment to weather the shaky economy.

Store sales of video games and consoles in June soared 53% and 54%, respectively, from the same month last year, while revenue from software and accessories rose 61% and 25%, the NPD Group said Thursday. So far this year, retailers have sold $16.6 billion in video games, consoles, and related products, compared with $12.2 billion during the same period a year ago.

"The videogames industry continues to perform in the face of an ever-increasingly difficult economic environment as many turn to more in-home entertainment," NPD analyst Anita Frazier, said in an e-mailed statement. "Even if growth slows over the back half of 2008, the industry is poised to achieve record-breaking revenues of over $22 billion for the year."

Nintendo's Wii console, with its popular motion-sensing remote, took the lead in total unit sales of current-generation hardware, NPD said. Since releasing the Wii in November 2006, Nintendo has sold 10.9 million units through U.S. retail stores. In June, sales reached 666,700 units.

Sony had its best month in terms of PlayStation 3 sales since last year's holiday shopping season, as retailers sold more than 405,000 units. NPD, which does not include online sales, attributed the solid month to the release of the game Metal Gear Solid 4, which is exclusive to the PS3.

"Platform-exclusive content usually fuels hardware system purchases, and PS3 sales certainly reflect the impact of Metal Gear Solid 4," Frazier said. Almost 775,000 copies of Metal Gear were sold at stores in June, making it the top-selling game.

Microsoft, meanwhile, sold 219,800 Xbox 360s in June.

Microsoft is reportedly getting ready to cut the price of its best-selling Xbox 360 model this month, a move that could boost sales. The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, said the company would reduce the retail price for the 20-GB Xbox 360 Pro by $50 to $299.

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