NPD: Xbox 360 Top System in February, Black Ops Breaks World Record

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Microsoft just grabbed the crown with Kinect for top selling consumer gizmo, and now it's seizing another: Top-selling console in February 2011. In fact the Xbox 360 had the biggest non-holiday sales month ever, topping even the September 2007 launch of Halo 3.

Microsoft said its Xbox 360 sold 535,000 units last month, putting it comfortably ahead of the Nintendo Wii, which Nintendo said sold 454,000 units. Not that Nintendo's numbers weren't terrific in their own right--both systems were up over January 2011 in unit sales.

Sony didn't release PlayStation 3 unit sales, but in a statement stressed "continued growth of the entire PlayStation 3 ecosystem." NPD said all three systems were up in year-on-year unit sales.

NPD's Anita Frazier said the games industry overall was up 4%, while dollar sales were mixed due to fluctuating prices--up for consoles and accessories, but flat for video game software.

The handheld games market (3DS, PSP) declined sharply by 27% compared year-on-year, but NPD expects that to rebound with the U.S. 3DS launch on March 27. Note the absent iPhone and Android sales metrics, both platforms now inarguably major gaming sales drivers.

No surprise, Call of Duty: Black Ops was the bestselling game in February, a monthly position its held since launching last November. Activision's seventh in the Call of Duty series is also now officially the bestselling game of all time, bumping former champ Wii Play to second place.

NPD cautioned its numbers only covered new physical retail sales, but didn't offer estimates for digital downloads, social networking games, or mobile apps. NPD says the latter are "where we've seen the greatest percentage growth over last year."

We're still looking at just a partial picture with these monthly retail updates, in other words.

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