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Quick Hits: Video Games Toy with Recession

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Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

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Here's a bright spot in the otherwise dismal outlook for holiday sales: video game hardware and software.

Market researcher NPD says sales of consoles and games rose 10% in November from a year earlier.

There are games for children and adults and, unlike mechanical toys, software doesn't break. Wide appeal and perceived good value appear to be driving sales. Without waxing unduly psychological, the games also give consumers a needed respite from downbeat economic news.

NPD says sales of video games in the US are expected to exceed $22 billion this year. Sony (SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT) say strong November sales show the continuing appeal of the games despite the economic crunch.

Nintendo sold about 2 million Wii consoles in November, up from 800,000 in October. Nintendo has sold about 15 million games since it was released in November 2006 and is now the nation's top-selling console.

Nintendo's DS hand-held system sold 1.5 million units in November, a record for US sales. Microsoft's Xbox 360 sold 836,000 units in November, up from 371,000 in October. Sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 rose to 378,000 in November from 190,000 in October.

Microsoft's Gears of War 2 sold 1.56 million units in November, vaulting it to the top of the 10 best-selling games in November. Activision Blizzard's (ATVI) Call of Duty: World at War grabbed the second spot by selling 1.41 million units.

If nothing else, it's safe to say Parcheesi doesn't capture kids' imagination these days.
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