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US hardware sales reach $1.6bn in December

In a record year for the US games industry, sales reached $12.5 billion, including December hardware sales of $1.6 bn, with the DS out-selling new next-gen consoles.

After a lively end to 2006 which saw two new home consoles debuting in North America, December hardware sales were up by 59 per cent to US $1.6 billion (EUR 1.2bn), with software sales reaching US $1.1 billion (EUR 851.9m), according to NPD videogame sales data.

Videogame sales for the entire year totalled US $12.5 billion (EUR 9.6bn), a rise of 19 per cent over 2005's 10.5 billion (EUR 8.1bn).

Home Consoles

Official hardware statistics reveal that despite the addition of new hardware to the market, Sony's PlayStation 2 was still the biggest selling home system, clocking up 1.4 million units for December, and 37.1 million to date in the US.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 added another 1.1 million units in December to a total of 4.5 million units since launch, while Nintendo's Wii sold 604,200 units for the month - with year end sales at 1.1 million.

Although Sony recently announced it had shipped one million PS3 units to North America, NPD data reveals the new console has only sold 687,000 of those, with 490,700 units sold in December.


While the focus may be on the rival performance of the new home consoles, the Nintendo DS continues to prove its popularity by selling the most of any hardware in December, reaching 1.6 million sales and 9.2 million since launch.

Sony's PSP also continues to sell well, with consumers snapping up 953,200 units during the month, and 6.7 million since it first hit store shelves.

Nintendo's other handheld, the Game Boy Advance has sold 35.1 million units in North America, with 850,700 of those selling in December.


Topping software sales in December was the critical and commercially successful Gears of War, a game that sold 817,700 copies, with Activision's Guitar Hero close behind at 805,200 units. Madden NFL 07 also performed well in the home of American football, shifting 727,100 units for the month.

Nintendo's first major franchise release for the Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess actually performed better on the flagging GameCube (532,900 units) compared to its release on the new console (519,200 units).

Other strong performers for the month included WWE Smackdown Vs RAW, a game that has helped publisher THQ raise its profit forecasts, New Super Mario Bros. for the DS and the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty 3.

However, looking at the the total software sales for 2006, EA will be celebrating the success of Madden NFL 07, which sold 2.8 million units over the year, while Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros. reached 2 million units.

For a game that was only released in November, Gears of War's 1.8 million sales is also a figure that will no doubt please developer Epic, also justifying Robbie Bach's comments that it's a "Halo-like franchise".


Sales of peripherals for the new hardware were also released by NPD, with the official Xbox 360 wireless controller reaching 832,800 units during December.

The Wii remote sold 646,700 units with the nunchuck controller selling 497,100 units. Sony's Sixaxis controller for the PS3 sold 336,000 units.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.