Rock titles drive revolution in games

Record first-half sales of video and computer games got a big boost from Rockstar Games' "Grand Theft Auto IV" and Activision's "Guitar Hero III."

Previewed at the E3 game industry conference July 16-18 in Los Angeles, music game titles due by year's end promise to kick annual sales to new highs, among them Konami's new "Rock Revolution," Harmonix/MTV/Electronic Arts' "Rock Band 2," Activision/Red Octane's "Guitar Hero: World Tour," THQ's "Saints Row 2" and EA's "Madden NFL '09."

U.S. sales of videogame hardware, software and accessories through the end of June totaled $8.27 billion, surging 36 percent from $6.1 billion during the same period last year, according to the NPD Group, which tracks retail sales.

Videogame software sales topped $4.3 billion, soaring 49 percent from $2.9 billion from a year earlier on record unit sales of 107.6 million, up 25 percent from 85.9 million a year earlier.

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