Hardware boosts December video game sales

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. video game sales climbed 4 percent in December from a year earlier, capping a rough 12 months for the industry.

Market researcher NPD Group said Thursday Americans spent more than $5.5 billion on gaming software, hardware and accessories last month.

NPD says sales of gaming systems jumped 16 percent to $2.2 billion. The Nintendo Wii sold more units than its rival PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 combined.

Software sales, however, took a hit. People spent less than $2.6 billion on games in December, down 7 percent from a year earlier.

For all of 2009, total game sales dropped 8 percent, to $19.7 billion. This is down from a record $21.4 billion in 2008.