Page last updated at 06:31 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 07:31 UK

Video games immune to US slowdown

Wii shopper
Nintendo's Wii continues to rule the console market

US sales of video game consoles and software have grown 57% over the past year, defying the economic downturn.

Consumers snapped up consoles, games and accessories worth $1.7bn during March, according to research firm NPD.

Nintendo's Wii came top with 720,000 units. Microsoft sold 262,000 Xbox 360 consoles, ahead of Sony's PlayStation 3 which found 257,000 customers.

"You'd never know the US economy was under distress by looking at the sales figures," said NPD's Anita Frazer.

super smash bros brawl
Super Smash Bros Brawl was the top game in March

Nintendo executives said Wii sales had been driven by the release of Super Smash Bros Brawl, which was the best-selling game in the US in March with 2.7 million copies sold.

Runner-up in the games hit list was the Xbox version of Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, with 752,000 sales.

Microsoft also celebrated overtaking arch rival Sony in the console wars. Sales of its Xbox 360 had been lagging during the past two months, mainly due to a "supply issue".

Although there were "still pockets of shortages" these had been solved, said David Dennis at Microsoft .

Sony for its part said that sales of its relatively new PlayStation 3 had doubled over the past year, and predicted that new games such as Gran Turismo 5 and Metal Gear Solid 4 would help to sustain momentum.


SEE ALSO
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