Fueled by the success of Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's "Halo 3," more video games were sold in the U.S. in 2007 than in any other year, with retail sales hitting $17.94 billion, according to the NPD Group.
The market researcher said total video game sales grew 43 percent, up from $12.53 billion in 2006. In December, historically the industry's strongest month, Americans spent $4.82 billion on video games, up 28 percent from a year earlier and up 83 percent from $2.63 billion in November.
Video games sold well during the holidays even as jittery consumers were cutting back spending on clothes and other items.
Hardware sales jumped 54 percent to $7.04 billion in 2007, while software sales climbed 34 percent to $8.64 billion. In December, hardware sales rose 17 percent to $1.83 billion, and software sales grew 36 percent to $2.37 billion.
Much of this growing acceptance has been attributed to the Wii, groundbreaking when it launched in 2006 for its motion-sensitive controller.
Even so, the portable Nintendo DS was by far the year's best-selling gaming system with 8.5 million units sold, 2.5 million of them in December. In short supply all year, the Wii still sold 6.3 million units, 1.4 million of them last month.
The year's best-selling game was Microsoft's first-person shooter "Halo 3," which helped sell 4.6 million Xbox 360s in 2007, about 1.3 million of them in December.
Sony's PlayStation 3 was the only gaming system that didn't sell more than a million units in December. Nonetheless, sales have jumped since Sony slashed the console's price by $100 and launched a low-end model last fall. There were 797,600 PS3s sold during the month, and 2.6 million in 2007.