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US Video Game Sales $1.1 Billion, Wii on Top Again

Nintendo
CNBC.com
Nintendo

U.S. sales of video game hardware and software jumped 73 percent in October, with Nintendo's Wii console regaining its spot as the top-selling console, industry data showed on Thursday.

Total sales were $1.1 billion, compared to $643 million a year earlier, according to market research firm NPD.

Nintendo sold 519,000 Wiis while Microsoft sold 366,000 Xbox 360 consoles and Sony sold 121,000 of its PlayStation 3 machines.

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In September, the Xbox 360 knocked the Wii from the top spot it had held all year, thanks to a boost from the release of Microsoft's blockbuster 'Halo 3' game.

"What this demonstrates is that we are putting more and more product into the marketplace and we continue to sell out as soon as it hits," said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime.

The console makers and game publishers are positioning for the holiday shopping season that can account for as much as half of the year's sales of gaming hardware and software.

While Nintendo is scrambling to produce enough units to meet demand, Microsoft is busy touting its broad line-up of games and pitching the Xbox 360 towards more casual gamers that lie outside its traditional consumer base of young men.

Sony, meanwhile, has tried to spark interest in the PS3 by cutting prices and rolling out a slate of highly anticipated games that showcase its graphical muscle.

"Remember that the PS3 price cut came in November so we'll have to wait until our data comes out next month to see the effect of that cut on retail sell-through of the hardware," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement.

Microsoft's 'Halo 3' was the best-selling game on a single console, moving 433,800 copies, but Activision's "Guitar Hero 3" needed just six days on the market to sell a combined 1.4 million copies across all three major consoles, as well as Sony's older PlayStation 2.

"'Guitar Hero' has certainly established itself among the elite video games properties," Frazier said. "Since it has broad appeal, it's also the type of game that should continue to do very well throughout the holidays."

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