"SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – US videogame sales were a bright spot on November's bleak economic landscape, climbing to nearly three billion dollars, according to market research firm NPD Thursday. Videogame sales so far in 2008 topped 16 billion dollars at the end of November and are on pace to crest 22 billion dollars for all of 2008, according to the industry tracking group. Sales in November were 10 percent higher than the same month last year, before a financial storm slammed the economy. "The video games industry continues to set a blistering sales pace," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said, citing research that showed videogames were "the category consumers are least likely to cut back on this holiday." Videogame sales are up 31 percent for the year, driven by demand for titles such as "Gears of War 2" and "Call of Duty: World at War," according to NPD. Videogames crafted for Nintendo's coveted Wii consoles made up half the top 10 best selling titles. Wii sales in November were more than double those of Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles and more than five times those of Sony's PlayStation 3 systems. Still, each of the rival videogame console makers "had something to brag about" in the robust sales figures, Frazier said. Videogame sales are being bolstered by an industry trend of expanding the audience beyond "hardcore gamers" by designing offerings for families, girls, seniors, and others aside from young-male fans of shooter titles. "Economic factors are also at play given that a video game is a relatively inexpensive form of entertainment for the hours of value it provides," said Frazier. A freshly released "Fallout 3" videogame from Bethesda Softworks lets people immerse themselves in the roles of heroes or outlaws in a vivid post-apocalyptic Washington for scores of hours. At a price of 60 dollars for a copy of the videogame, the cost breaks down to less than a dollar an hour for entertainment as compared with five or so dollars an hour to go to a film. "It's clear there can be more multiple victors this generation (of consoles)," Frazier said. "While price is certainly a strong factor, particularly as the current economic situation continues to prevail, the most important factor that will drive success in 2009 will be the line-up of compelling games that will keep consumers involved in the industry." Source.