Page last updated at 10:16 GMT, Friday, 16 May 2008 11:16 UK

US video game sales lifted by GTA

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The gaming industry has so far been immune to the US economic slowdown

US sales of video game consoles and software were up 47% in April from a year before, fuelled by the release of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) IV.

Strong demand for Nintendo's Wii also helped the total amount spent on consoles, games and accessories reach $1.2bn, research firm NPD said.

But analysts were surprised to see that every console system bar the Wii saw hardware sales decline from March.

Analysts said the early Easter could have been partly to blame.

Temporary blip?

The Wii sold 714,000 units in April helping to lift hardware sales 26% to $426.2m.

But Microsoft's Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation 3 both saw lower sales in April compared with March.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier said she was "surprised" at this decline considering that GTA IV is designed for these two consoles.

Figures from the NPD showed that GTA IV sold nearly 2.9 million copies in the US in its first five days.

But Ms Frazier observed that since the game was only in the market for five days during the reporting period, the sales lift could take place in May.

After GTA IV, other top selling games included Nintendo's Mario Kart Wii and Sony's Gran Turismo 5: Prologue.

These helped software sales jump 68% to $654.7m.

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