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US market enjoys record year

Research firm NPD reports that December sales alone reached $3.7 billion, with hardware being a notable performer. In the same month the year before hardware sales totalled $461.3 million – this was trounced by 2006’s figure of $1.1 billion, an increase of 131 per cent.

Nintendo’s DS was the top festive performer, selling 1.6 million units in December. PS2 was hot on its heels, however, with monthly sales of 1.4 million, just ahead of Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which sold 1.1 million units in the final month of the year.

There was also a strong performance from the industry newcomers. Nintendo Wii enjoyed sales of 604,200 in December whilst Sony’s PS3 sold 490,700. Since launch the two consoles have sold 1.1 million and 687,300 respectively.

NPD adds that the 60GB version of PS3 accounts for 75 per cent of the console’s total sales.

The best selling platform specific game in the US throughout the year was EA’s Madden NFL 07 on PS2, which shifted 2.8 million units. Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros finished an impressive year in second place with annual sales of two million units.

Other top performers were Microsoft’s Gears of War (1.8m), Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts II (1.7m) and Final Fantasy XII (1.3m) and Activision’s Guitar Hero II (1.3m).

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