The US videogame market rebounded in February thanks to strong sales of hardware and accessories including Microsoft Points cards.
Total sales were $1.36 billion according to the NPD Group, up 3 per cent on last year, with hardware up 10 per cent to $466.9 million and accessories at $256.9 million - an impressive climb of 22 per cent.
However, software sales at retail were weak, down 5 per cent on 2010 to $601.4 million.
"New physical sales within the video games industry were up 4 per cent driven by a unit sales increase of console hardware, console software and console accessories," said the NPD's Anita Frazier.
Although NPD does not release unit sales figures on its own, it revealed that all three home consoles saw units sales increase during February. Microsoft has since revealed that it sold 535,000 units during the month.
"The best-selling hardware system of the month was the Xbox 360 which had its biggest non-holiday (November/December) sales month ever, surpassing September 2007 when Halo 3 launched," added Frazier.
"The 250 GB system bundled with the Kinect sensor was one of the drivers of the increase in average selling price among console hardware. All three console systems realised a unit sales increase over last February. All hardware systems realised a unit sales increase over January 2011."
Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops continues to perform incredibly well - it is now the best-selling game ever recorded in the US, topping Nintendo's Wii Play, with 13.7 million units sold in the region, according to our sister site IndustryGamers.
It was also a good month for Capcom's Marvel Vs Capcom: Fate of Two Worlds, which had a strong debut at number two in the top ten sellers.
Epic and People Can Fly's Bulletstorm took seventh place in the monthly sales ranking - a good placing for brand new IP - just ahead of Sony's Killzone 3 at eight, after only a few days on release.
Ubisoft had another good month, with Just Dance 2 and Michael Jackson: The Experience at three and nine, respectively.
"Call of Duty: Black Ops was the best-selling game in February, retaining the top selling spot since launch in November. It has now become the best-selling game in history, topping Wii Play," said Frazier.
"Retail sales of console software were up 2 per cent in units while the portable segment declined. The top 10 games for the month outsold the top 10 from last February by 6 per cent in units. There were fewer new releases in February 2011 versus February 2010, but those new releases were more productive, selling more on average than the new releases did last year."
Highlighting the importance of points cards used to purchase DLC, sales were up 52 per cent on last year and accounted for 22 per cent of accessory sales. The top-selling SKU was Microsoft's 1600 MS Points card.
The top ten best-selling games for February in the US follow:
- 01 Call of Duty: Black Ops (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, NDS, PC)
- 02 Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (Xbox 360, PS3)
- 03 Just Dance 2 (Wii)
- 04 NBA 2K11 (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP, PC)
- 05 Dead Space 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- 06 Zumba Fitness (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3)
- 07 Bulletstorm (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- 08 Killzone 3 (PS3)
- 09 Michael Jackson: The Experience (Wii, DS, PSP)
- 10 Mario Sports Mix (Wii)
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