Sales of console and portable video games grew 26 percent in April versus last year, a rise that a market research group that tracks the figures attributes to a stronger lineup of games such as "Mortal Kombat 2011" and "Portal 2."
Five games sold more than 250,000 units last month, versus just two that sold above that amount a year ago, the research firm, The NPD Group, said after the market closed Thursday.
"The content slate was stronger this year versus last April," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. She added that April 2011 was the first month since November that sales of new games at retail grew in both units and dollars. Xbox 360 games were the biggest sellers in terms of units. More than 3.5 million games were sold for the console in April.
Sales of new console and portable games, excluding PC games, hit $503.2 million, up from $398.5 million a year ago, NPD said. Including PC games, the figure was $533.6 million, a 24 percent rise from $429.4 million.
The top-selling games were "Mortal Kombat 2011," the latest in the long-running fighting series; "Portal 2," a brainy puzzle/action adventure; "Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars"; "Call of Duty: Black Ops"; and "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters," according to NPD.
Including new video game hardware and accessories, total sales in the U.S. of games and ancillary equipment in April were $961.2 million, up 20 percent from $802.4 million a year ago.
NPD does not include game downloads and online games in its monthly retail sales data, so the numbers can sometimes show a decline even if more people are playing games on Facebook, their mobile phones and elsewhere.