NPD: Xbox 360 outsells Wii in February

The Microsoft console claims the top spot in U.S for the first time in more than two years

Microsoft's Xbox 360 outsold Nintendo's Wii in February to claim the top spot in the U.S. monthly sales ranking for the first time in more than two years, analyst group NPD said Thursday. Overall the industry had a poor month with total sales down 15 percent from February last year.

"Honestly, I had expected the industry to perform somewhat better this month," said Anita Frazier, a games analyst at NPD, in a statement.

Total sales for the month including software, hardware and peripherals were US$1.26 billion, with console sales down 20 percent at $426 million.

The Xbox 360 sold 422,000 units during the month compared to the Wii's 397,900 units. The PlayStation 3 sold 360,100 units, which while only good enough for third place represented a 30 percent increase on February 2009. The previous-generation PlayStation 2 managed to sell 101,900 units, NPD said.

In the handheld gaming space Nintendo's DS was once again the top-selling device. It achieved sales of 613,200 units against the PlayStation Portable's 133,400 units.

Those DS sales break the previous record of 597,000 units for portable gaming devices in the U.S., which was set by the DS a month earlier.

The record sales come less than a month before Nintendo is due to launch a new model of the DS, called the DSi XL. The device is already on sale in Japan and will hit U.S. shelves at the end of this month.

"We expect the public’s appetite for these systems will grow even more when we introduce our new extra-large model, the Nintendo DSi XL, on March 28," said Cammie Dunaway, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Nintendo of America, in a statement.

Software sales saw a 15 percent drop to $624 million, but higher retail prices helped mask a steeper drop in unit sales.

The top-selling game of the month was Take 2's "Bioshock 2," which sold 750,000 copies across all platforms. The Xbox 360 version outsold the rest at 562,900 units to claim the top spot in the sales ranking. Nintendo's "New Super Mario Bros." came in second with sales of 555,600 units.

Activision's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" had another strong month with sales of 567,100 units, giving it third place. It has now become the third-best-selling video game of all time, said NPD, with lifetime sales of almost 10 million units.

The top 10 best-selling games in the U.S. in February were, according to NPD Group:

1) Bioshock 2, Xbox 360, 562,900 units

2) New Super Mario Bros., Wii, 555,600 units

3) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Xbox 360, 314,300 units

4) Just Dance, Wii, 275,400 units

5) Wii Sports Resort, Wii, 272,500 units

6) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, PlayStation 3, 252,800 units

7) Mass Effect 2, Xbox 360, 246,500 units

8) Dante's Inferno: Divine Edition, PlayStation 3, 242,500 units

9) Dante's Inferno, Xbox 360, 224,700 units

10) Heavy Rain, PlayStation 3, 219,300 units

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

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