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Atari's Turbulence

Like clockwork, every five years when the current generation of console hardware transitions to the next, the impact reverberates throughout the video games industry. Hardware shortages mean game sales nosedive, consumers' reluctance to buy games for the old equipment means game sales nosedive, and gamers' concerns about rushing into the new equipment means game sales nosedive.

In plain figures, U.S. console game sales for May fell to $1.42 billion, almost a 7% drop from $1.52 billion a year ago, according to Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD. June figures, scheduled to be released next week, are expected to be even lower.

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