Video game software sales rebounded in November, a crucial month for the industry as gift buying takes off in the weeks leading up to the holidays.
Sales of games sold as discs jumped 15% to $1.67 billion last month compared with a year earlier, the most that's been rung up for a November sales period, according to a report from market research firm NPD Group Inc.
"Content sales grew substantially thanks to a great slate of new titles," said Anita Frazier, NPD's game analyst.
Hard-core games dominated the bestseller list as a bumper crop of hotly anticipated shooter, role-playing and adventure titles hit the market last month, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 from Activision Blizzard Inc., Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Saints Row: The Third from THQ Inc.
Analysts were heartened by the uptick in game sales, which had limped along since 2009, when the economic downturn caused consumers to ratchet down spending.
"This is the first time software sales have been up three months in a row since 2008," said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities. "This kills two misperceptions about the industry. The first is that console games are dead. The second is that mobile and social games killed console games."
Conversely, dollar sales of consoles and other gaming hardware declined, mostly because of price cuts that have occurred in the last year.
Nintendo Co., for example, sliced the price of its 3DS hand-held in August to $170 from $250. As a result, overall console sales dropped 9% in November to $982.4 million compared with a year earlier.