Despite seasonal slump, revs up to $1.2 billion

The vidgame biz continued to soar in July despite a seasonal slump with few major new titles released.

Industry revenue was up 28% to $1.2 billion, with game sales leading the way, up 48% compared to a 22% rise in consoles. Overall, the vidgame biz has earned $9.47 billion so far, up 35% from the same point a year ago according to the NPD Group.

Nintendo’s Wii held onto the number one spot with 555,000 units sold in the month, once again outselling Sony’s Playstation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 combined. The PS3 continued it 2008 pattern of slightly beating the 360, selling 225,000 units compared to 205,000. Microsoft’s console retains a significant lead in total sales, however, with 10.7 million units sold in the U.S. thus far, while the PS3 is at 5.2 million. Wii is in the lead with 11.5 million units even though it launched a year after the 360.

The DS portable console from Nintendo was again the best selling piece of videogame hardware with 608,000 units moved in July, bringing its lifetime-to-date sales to over 21 million. Sony’s PSP was far behind with 222,000 units for the month and a total of 12.2 million.

Top selling game for the month was EA’s new sports simulator NCAA Football ’09, which sold 398,000 units for the Xbox 360 and 243,000 for the PS3, a relatively small amount for a game in first place. MTV’s “Rock Band” for the Nintendo Wii, which launched in late June, sold a 166,000 units in July, good enough for eighth place. However it was easily bested by Activision’s new version of its music game for the portable Nintendo DS, “Guitar Hero: On Tour,” which was in third place with 310,000 units. In June “On Tour” launched with 422,000 units sold.

Other new games in the top 10 included Namco Bandai’s fighter “Soul Calibur IV,” which sold a total of 375,000 units for the 360 and PS3 and Take 2’s “Civilization: Revolution, which snuck into tenth place with 148,000 units sold on the 360.

Electronic Arts’ “Madden NFL ’09” is expected to dominate videogames for the month of August.

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