US videogame industry scores February uptick

Industry tracker NPD Group on Thursday reported that US videogame sales rose in February as people snatched up consoles and hot accessories such as Kinect for Xbox 360.

Total sales of videogame hardware and software for the month tallied $1.36 billion, three percent more than the revenue seen in February of last year, according to NPD.

The performance was even better when new revenue streams from titles downloaded online, games played at social networks, and applications for play on mobile gadgets are included, said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

"While our monthly sales releases cover revenues generated by new physical retail sales, sales of content outside of new physical retail represent other methods of monetization for the industry," Frazier said.

"Among these, full game and add-on content digital downloads, social network gaming, and consumer purchases of mobile apps are some of the areas where we've seen the greatest percentage growth over last year."

Sales of videogame software sold as packaged goods in stores slipped five percent to $601.4 million as players shift spending to Internet downloads, online play and mobile gaming.

Microsoft Xbox 360 was the top selling console during the month, with Kinect gesture-sensing controllers for the devices continuing to be hot items.

Sales of Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 consoles were up in comparisons with the previous month as well as February of last year, according to Frazier.

While sales of game handsets dropped in the month, NPD predicted a rebound when Nintendo's 3DS hits the US on March 27.

"Call of Duty: Black Ops" by Activision Blizzard was the best selling title for the month, followed by Capcom's "Marvel vs Capcom: Fate of Two Worlds" and Ubisoft's "Just Dance 2" for the Wii.

"Call of Duty: Black Ops" has become the best selling videogame in history since its launch in November, according to Frazier.