Game Console Sales Rose 20% in Dec.; Nintendo Leads

Video-game console sales rose 20 percent to $1.3 billion in the U.S. last month as Nintendo Co. (7974)'s Wii kept its lead over Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Game sales rose 28 percent to $4.82 billion.

Nintendo sold 1.35 million Wii players through U.S. retailers in December, followed by 1.26 million Xbox 360 players from Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and 797,600 PlayStation 3 consoles from Sony Corp. (6758), researcher NPD Group Inc., based in Port Washington, New York, said today in an e- mailed statement.

Console sales gained 73 percent last year to $5.12 billion, NPD said. Among the newest models, Kyoto-based Nintendo led with U.S. sales of 6.29 million Wii players, followed by Xbox 360 at 4.62 million and PlayStation 3 at 2.56 million. Stores sold 3.97 million older PlayStation 2 models from Tokyo-based Sony.

Game sales rose 43 percent for the year to $17.9 billion, NPD said. For December, the top-selling title was Activision Inc. (ATVI)'s ``Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock,'' which sold 1.87 million copies for PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360, NPD said. Two of Nintendo's ``Super Mario'' titles sold more than 2 million copies combined.

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net.

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