U.S. Video Game Sales Rise 24% in June on Console Demand

Sales of U.S. video-game hardware and software rose 24 percent last month as shipments of new generation consoles outweighed a drop in revenue from games. Sony Corp. said its player led for a sixth straight month.

Hardware sales including Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 more than doubled to $292.7 million, while revenue from software, excluding titles for personal computers, shrank 3 percent to $286.8 million, NPD Group Inc. said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Total sales rose to $736.4 million from a year earlier.

Microsoft, which has been chasing Sony for dominance in the U.S. video-game console market, introduced a lower-priced version of its Xbox One on June 9 to narrow a $100 price difference with the PS4. While Sony’s machine has led in sales since the new generation of consoles was introduced last year, Microsoft said this week that purchases of its Xbox One more than doubled last month.

“Combined sales of Xbox One and PS4 are over 80 percent higher than the combined totals for Xbox 360 and PS3 –- an indication of the strength of the start of this new console generation,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in the statement.

The PlayStation 4 was No. 1 in sales for the sixth consecutive month “and remains the cumulative leader for next generation game consoles,” Tokyo-based Sony said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Last month, the top-selling game in the U.S. was Watch Dogs, available for both the PS4 and Xbox One as well as other machines. Six of the 10 top-selling titles in June play on the new consoles.

Big Budget

Sony fell 0.5 percent to 1,680 yen at the 3 p.m. close of trading in Tokyo, extending an 8 percent decline this year. Microsoft rose 1 percent to $44.53 at the close in New York yesterday.

Nintendo Co. fell 0.5 percent to 12,495 yen, extending an 11 percent decline this year. The Kyoto-based gamemaker said yesterday its Mario Kart 8 game sold more than 470,000 physical and digital units last month in the U.S.

The year-end holiday season will see a surge of big-budget titles, including Activision Blizzard Inc.’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Destiny, Electronic Arts Inc.’s Battlefield Hardline and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity and Far Cry 4.

Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, yesterday announced the elimination of 18,000 jobs, including 12,500 from the Nokia Oyj handset business, as Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella integrates that business and slims down the company.

In the Xbox division, the company will shut down an ambitious effort to create original television programming, just one month after the debut of its first show.

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