U.S. video game retail sales soared 53 percent in June, fueled by Nintendo's Wii and handheld DS gaming systems, as well as Konami's blockbuster "Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots" — by far the month's best-selling title.
Total sales of video game hardware, software and accessories hit $1.69 billion during the month, up from $1.1 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to data from market researcher NPD Group.
"The video games industry continues to perform in the face of an ever-increasingly difficult economic environment as many turn to more in-home entertainment," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier in an e-mail. "Even if growth slows over the back half of 2008, the industry is poised to achieve record-breaking revenues of over $22 billion for the year."
Hardware sales grew 54 percent to $615.1 million from $399.2 million a year ago. Software sales jumped 61 percent to $872.6 million from $542.2 million.
The portable Nintendo DS was the best-selling gaming system during the month, with 783,000 units. This is up from just 452,600 in May of this year. The Wii, meanwhile, sold 666,700 units and it has now outsold both the PS3 and the Xbox 360.
Sony's PlayStation 3 bested Microsoft's Xbox 360 console in June. (Msnbc.com is a Microsoft-NBC Universal joint venture.) The PS3 sold 405,500 units compared with just 219,800 for the Xbox 360.
The higher PS3 sales were fueled by the launch of the highly anticipated "Metal Gear Solid 4," which is available exclusively for Sony's console. The game sold 774,600 copies, not including those bundled with the PS3.
Activision Blizzard's "Guitar Hero on Tour" for the DS came in second with 422,300 units sold, followed by Microsoft's "Ninja Gaiden II" with 372,700.
"Wii Play," which launched more than a year ago, continues to sell well — a rarity for video games, which tend to have much shorter shelf lives.