U.S. sales of video game hardware and software rose 57 percent from a year earlier while Microsoft sold 262,000 Xbox 360 game consoles in March, industry data showed on Thursday.
Sales of gaming hardware, software and accessories hit $1.7 billion in March, led by Nintendo's Wii console, which posted its biggest non-holiday month ever, according to market research firm NPD.
U.S. consumers snapped up 720,000 Wiis, driven in part by the release of Nintendo's critically acclaimed "Super Smash Bros. Brawl," which was the top-selling game with 2.7 million copies sold.
Microsoft Corp's Xbox 360 regained its lead over Sony's PlayStation 3 after two months of sluggish sales the company blamed on supply constraints. Consumers bought 262,000 Xbox 360s and 257,000 PlayStation 3s.
"We said as our supply issue lifted that we'd be back in the
game," said Microsoft spokesman David Dennis. "For the most
part we're in good supply throughout the retail channel.
There are still pockets of shortage, but for most part you
can go into a store and find an Xbox 360."
PS3 sales doubled from a year earlier, and Sony said new and upcoming games such as its "Gran Turismo 5 Prologue" racing game and Konami's "Metal Gear Solid 4" stealth action title would drive sales in the coming months.
The Xbox 360 version of "Rainbow Six: Vegas 2" from French publisher Ubisoft was the No. 2 game in the month, selling 752,000 copies, while Electronic Arts Inc's "Army of Two" for the Xbox 360 came in third at 606,000 copies.
Nintendo also sold 698,000 units of its DS handheld, while Sony sold 297,000 units of its PSP device.