The US video game industry broke an all-time record of growth, as it surged from $6.6bn in 2000 to $9.4bn in 2001. This broke 1999's game boom of $6.9bn, according to online game market researchers NPD Group.
The growth has been put down to, in part, the launch of three new gaming systems, namely Nintendo's GameCube and Game Boy Advance, and Microsoft's Xbox.
Retail sales of US video games, hardware, software and accessories climbed 43 per cent in 2001 compared to the previous year.
Ilene Haase, director of toys and video games at NPD, said that last year was a tremendous rebound from slightly lower sales in 2000.
"Three different gaming consoles sold more than a million pieces last holiday season. Last year will be a tough year to top, since higher-priced hardware systems drove the majority of the dollar growth," Haase said.
Grand Theft Auto 3, developed by Rockstar Games for Sony's PlayStation 2, was the best-selling console game with almost two million units sold since October 2001. This was followed by Madden NFL 2002 and Pokemon Crystal.
Nintendo continued to dominate the portable game console market as Game Boy Advance saw unit sales increase 22 per cent from 2000.
Gaming accessories saw a 26 per cent increase in unit sales and a 47 per cent increase in year-over-year revenue.
PlayStation 2 accessories led all platforms in accessory sales in 2001, a 517 per cent unit sales increase from 2000.
Steve Koenig, an analyst at NDP, said sales in the PC game sector during 2001 were largely driven by a handful of proven franchises and sequels or expansion sets.
"As a result, the market for PC games managed to achieve relatively good growth in 2001, despite the gaming industry's strong focus on the console business during the last half of the year," he said.
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