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U.S. Video Game Industry Sales Rise 16% on New Console Spending

Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. sales of video-game hardware and software rose 16 percent last month as consumer spending on a new generation of consoles continued to fuel a rebound for the industry after years of decline.

U.S. retail sales of consoles, software and game accessories increased to $514.3 million from $443.1 million a year earlier, researcher NPD Group Inc. said today in an e- mailed statement. Hardware led the increase, while software revenue declined.

The monthly report points to potential demand for the industry heading into the holiday shopping season, when a number of popular new titles will debut. Consumers in Europe are getting a first look at new games this week during Gamescom, the world’s largest video-game fair, which is drawing record attendance, according to its organizers.

“Similar to the pattern seen in seven out of the last nine months, strong growth in hardware sales offset declines in software sales,” Liam Callahan, an NPD analyst, said in the statement.

Sales of hardware, including Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One, doubled to $198.8 million from $99.4 million a year earlier, NPD said. Sony said on Aug. 12 that worldwide sales of the PS4 exceed 10 million units, marking the fastest growth ever for its PlayStation devices.

Software sales shrank 15 percent to $178.2 million, NPD said, reflecting a drop in sales of older-generation games, along with light spending on new titles. The top selling games for the month were Sony’s The Last of Us for PlayStation and Minecraft for both older Sony and Microsoft machines.

PS4 sales, which have been in the lead since the new generation consoles were released last year, are about double the 5 million Xbox One units sold, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral wrote on Aug. 13.

Microsoft said in July that a lower-priced Xbox One console, now comparable to the PS4, has boosted console sales. Sony is demonstrating a larger number of exclusive titles at Gamescom, Waral said, which may help the Tokyo-based company to outpace Microsoft’s console sales, BI’s Waral said.

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