The jump was thanks largely to 721,000 sales of Wii hardware, as well as consumers snapping up 2.7 million units of Super Smash Bros Brawl.
According to Next-Gen.biz, NPD analyst Anita Frazier said that the Wii captured "the highest single month unit sales of any platform outside the holiday timeframe”.
She added: “You'd never know that the U.S. economy was under distress by looking at the videogames industry sales figures. Year-to-date growth is a rock-solid 27 percent through March 2008.”
Analyst Jesse Divnich with research firm EEDAR said Wii hardware sales will likely stay in the 600,000 to 700,000 unit range over the next couple of months as Nintendo supports Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii.
DS sales hit 698,000 in the month for the month. Xbox 360 sold 262,000 units, just ahead of PlayStation 3, which sold 257,000. The PS3 outsold Xbox 360 in January and February this year. In addition, Sony's PSP handheld sold 297,000, while the PS2 sold 216,000
Overall hardware sales were $551.3 million, up 46 percent year-on-year.
Software sales nearly doubled those of hardware, as titles such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 and Army of Two drove sales to $945.6 million, up 63 percent on the same period in 2007.
Accessory sales were up 58 percent to $220 million, driven by sales of Xbox Live points and subscription cards, along with the PS3 wireless controller.NPD's top-selling games for March (*Includes bundles, spec eds.)- WII SUPER SMASH BROS: BRAWL; NINTENDO OF AMERICA; Mar-08--2.7M
- 360 *TOM CLANCY'S RAINBOW SIX: VEGAS 2; UBISOFT; Mar-08--752.3K
- 360 ARMY OF TWO; ELECTRONIC ARTS; Mar-08--606.1K
- WII PLAY W/ REMOTE; NINTENDO OF AMERICA; Feb-07--409.8K
- PSP GOD OF WAR: CHAINS OF OLYMPUS; SONY; Mar-08--340.5K
- PSP CRISIS CORE: FINAL FANTASY VII; SQUARE ENIX INC; Mar-08--301.6K
- WII GUITAR HERO III: LEGENDS OF ROCK; ACTIVISION; Oct-07--264.1K
- 360 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K8; TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE; Mar-08--237.1K
- 360 *CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE; ACTIVISION; Nov-07--237K
- PS3 ARMY OF TWO; ELECTRONIC ARTS; Mar-08--224.9K