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Xbox 360 Lead in U.S. Console Software & Hardware Sales, NPD

Industry sales of video games and other software for the Xbox 360 topped $3 billion in traditional U.S. retail stores in 2010 — moving the Microsoft console past the Nintendo Wii (at $2.6 billion) and keeping it ahead of Sony’s PlayStation 3 (at $2.1 billion) in a closely watched measure of financial performance, report latest NPD Group data.

Nintendo was still able to win the 2010 U.S. home-console hardware race, with a strong December (>2.3 million units) boosting the Wii’s total to more than 7 million units for the year (although that was down from more than 9.5 million units in 2009).

Microsoft, which had led the U.S. console market for six straight months, said it ran into supply shortages in December, selling 1.9 million units for the month and finishing the year at 6.8 million Xbox 360 units sold in the U.S. (up from 4.8 million in 2009). By comparison, Sony sold 1.2 million PS3s in Dec. For the full year, the PS3 sold 4.3 million units, essentially flat compared with 2009.

On the software side, Microsoft’s console was helped significantly at the end of the year by the launch of new games for the company’s Kinect motion-sensitive controller. Industry game/software sales for the Xbox 360 rose 29% in Dec., compared to the same month the previous year, according to the BMO report on the NPD numbers.

For the PlayStation 3, the industry’s game/software sales were up 13% in Dec and up 27% for the year. By the same measure, the Wii was down 13% for Dec and down 20% for the year, compared to its performance in 2009.

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