Industry profits increased 13% in January

Consumers may be cutting back on entertainment, but they’re still spending on videogames.

The vidgame sector was up 13% in January, collecting $1.3 billion in coin, driven mostly by Nintendo hardware and software sales, according to data from market research group NPD.

Nintendo’s Wii was once again the top selling console, moving 679,000 units, while its handheld DS device sold another 511,000 units.

Its “Wii Fit” was the top selling game for the month, with 777,000 copies sold — perhaps a nod to consumers’ annual New Year’s resolution of wanting to exercise more.

Nintendo’s “Wii Play,” “Mario Kart,” Electronic Arts’ “Left 4 Dead” and “Call of Duty: World at War” rounded out the top five.

Only two new games cracked the top ten — “Skate 2″ from Electronic Arts for the Xbox 360 and “Lord of the Rings: Conquest” on the PS3. “Skate 2″ moved 199,000 copies for the Xbox 360, while “Rings” sold 113,000 for the PS3.

Strength of older games is being attributed to an influx of new gamers.

Overall, software sales were up 10% to $676 million, while hardware grew to $445 million, a 17% bump over the same period last year. Accessories also enjoyed a bump of 11% due to the interest in consoles.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is still besting PlayStation’s console sales, with 309,000 systems sold versus 203,000 for the PS3 and another 101,000 for the PS2. Sony’s PSP shipped 172,000 units.

Sony’s “Little Big Planet,” exclusive to the PS3, failed to sell enough copies to make it into the top 10, signaling that the family friendly title isn’t necessarily connecting with its core audience.

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