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U.S. Video-Game Sales Growth Slows In February

The Nintendo Wii and the company's portable console, the DS, continued buck the trend in terms of unit sales.
On the software side, U.S. video-game fans took advantage of lower prices and bought nearly 20 million games in February, a 14% rise from a year ago. The average retail price for games fell 4% from last year, NPD said.

The latest version of the longtime video-game franchise Street Fighter was second in sales for the month, behind the Wii Fit with Balance Board. Capcom USA sold 446,000 units for the Xbox 360 and 403,000 units for the PS3. Nintendo sold 644,000 units of Wii Fit, which only runs on the Wii console. NPD rates sales by individual platforms.

"A long-established video game franchise, the Street Fighter property continues to generate impressive sales results," Frazier said. "The great performance of the new title, Street Fighter IV, on both the PS3 and Xbox 360, is a testament to the power of carefully cultivating evergreen properties."

NPD expects March sales of video games to remain strong, driven by a number of new titles, such as "Pokemon Platinum," "GTA: Chinatown Wars," "Halo Wars," two Major League Baseball titles, and "Resident Evil 5."

"The sheer quantity of great content coming to market early in the year should keep industry sales humming throughout 2009," Frazier said.

As of the end of February, overall sales for the video-game industry were up 11% from the same period last year to $2.81 billion, according to NPD.

In a separate report, communications market researcher TMNG said it expects annual global sales of all video games, including those sold for mobile devices, such as the Apple iPhone, as well as consoles, to reach $40 billion by 2012.

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