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Gaming Is 34% More Popular

Saturday, December 09, 2006 - 19:57:57 EST

Video game retail sales jumped 34 percent in November, with console sales more than double last year's results, according to data from the NPD Group, a market research company.

Total sales jumped 34 percent to $1.7 billion from $1.3 billion last November.

Total hardware sales soared 69 percent to $771 million from last year's $456 million during the month, which saw the long-anticipated launches of Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii.

Sales of portable systems jumped 26 percent to $252 million, and sales of non-handheld consoles more than doubled, to $519 million from $255 million a year ago.

The portable Nintendo DS sold in the highest numbers, with 918,000 units. Sony's PlayStation 2, launched six years ago, followed with 664,000 consoles sold.

The PS3, which retails for $500 and $600, sold 197,000 units, beat out by the $250 Wii, which sold 476,000. The two consoles went on sale on Nov. 17 and 19, respectively.

Citing production problems, Sony launched the PS3 amid widespread shortages. The company had promised 400,000 consoles for its U.S. debut, which saw long lines with hopeful buyers camping out in front of stores for days.

Worldwide, Both Sony and Nintendo expect to sell 6 million of their next-generation consoles by the end of March.

Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360, the third "next-generation" console, which debuted a year ago ahead of its rivals, sold 511,000 units, coming in at fourth place behind third-place GameBoy Advance.

Software sales climbed 15 percent to $804 million from $702 million a year ago. Microsoft led the pack with 1 million units of its "Gears of War" title sold during November, for $61.5 million total including the collector's edition.

Behind second-place "Final Fantasy XII," for the PS2, from Japanese developer Square Enix, Nintendo's "Legend of Zelda" for the Wii sold the third-highest number of units, at 412,000.

Activision's "Guitar Hero 2" followed fourth with 356,000 units sold, totaling $28 million.