Video Game Sales Up 57%

U.S. sales of video game hardware and software rose 57%in March from a year earlier, industry data showed on Thursday, evidence that the industry has so far been immune to wider economic woes. Sales of gaming hardware, software and accessories hit $1.7 billion in March, led by Nintendo's Wii console, which posted its biggest non-holiday month ever, according to market research firm NPD. "You'd never know that the U.S. economy was under distress by looking at the video games industry sales figures," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. U.S. consumers snapped up 720,000 Wiis, driven in part by the release of Nintendo's critically acclaimed "Super Smash Bros. Brawl", which was the top-selling game with 2.7 million copies sold.

Additionally, Microsoft's Xbox 360 regained its lead over Sony's PlayStation 3 after two months of sluggish sales the company blamed on supply constraints. Consumers bought 262,000 Xbox 360s and 257,000 PlayStation 3s. "We said as our supply issue lifted that we'd be back in the game," said Microsoft spokesman David Dennis. For its part, PS3 sales have doubled from a year earlier, and Sony said new and upcoming games such as its "Gran Turismo 5 Prologue" racing game and Konami's "Metal Gear Solid 4" stealth action title would drive sales in the coming months.

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