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Microsoft Leads U.S. Video-Games November Sales

Microsoft Xbox Leads U.S. Video-Game Consoles
Customers wait in line to purchase the first Microsoft Corp. Kinect motion controllers for the Xbox 360 console. Photographer: Jeremy Bales/Bloomberg

Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360, helped by its Kinect motion-capture controller, was the best-selling video-game console in the U.S. for the sixth consecutive month, the company said.

The Redmond, Washington-based software giant sold 1.37 million consoles in November, David Dennis, group product manager with Xbox, said today, citing researcher NPD Group Inc.

Nintendo Co.’s Wii sales gained 0.8 percent to 1.27 million units, the company said separately. Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 sales fell 25 percent to 530,000 units from a year earlier, when the company cut prices, Morgan Stanley said in a report, citing NPD data.

Total industry sales of $2.99 billion were the best November on record, and up 8 percent from a year earlier, NPD, based in Port Washington, New York, said in a statement. Sales of software rose 4 percent to $1.46 billion, while sales of accessories that include Kinect and Sony’s Move motion-controller jumped 69 percent to $413.3 million.

Xbox 360, which was released in November 2005, is benefiting from a June console redesign, followed by the Nov. 4 introduction of the Kinect add-on, said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. in Los Angeles. Hardware sales in the video-game industry typically begin to decline five years after a console is released.

“As long as you continue to keep the experience fresh, you give people more reason to buy it, more reason to turn it on and more reason for it to stay relevant,” Microsoft’s Dennis said in an interview.

Kinect Peripherals

Microsoft remains on track to sell 5 million Kinect peripherals through the holidays, Dennis said. He declined to quantify November U.S. sales for the accessory.

The company probably sold in November about 1.5 million Kinect peripherals in the U.S., Pachter projected in a research note before the NPD report was released, saying about half were part of an Xbox 360 console package.

“We expect at least a repeat of these sales in December, boding well for Microsoft’s performance at holiday,” he said.

Microsoft and Sony have been trying to overtake market leader Nintendo, with its Wii console. The Kyoto, Japan-based company has begun selling red Wii and red DS handheld hardware bundles to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its Mario franchise.

Kinect-related purchases fueled 77 percent of total Microsoft sales in November, while sales related to Sony’s Move motion-control peripheral were 22 percent of the Tokyo-based company’s total, Mia Nagasaka, a Morgan Stanley analyst in Tokyo, estimated in an e-mailed report.

Nintendo DS

Nintendo DS sales in the U.S. fell to 1.5 million units in November, an 11 percent decline from a year earlier, according to the report. The company has said it plans to release a 3D version of the DS next year.

NPD stopped reporting unit sales of consoles in September. The industry tracker now reports monthly revenue for video-game hardware, software and peripherals. Console makers are free to release their own unit sales.

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