Microsoft XBox Gains to Buck U.S. Video-Game Industry Decline

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Xbox 360 was the top-selling video-game console in the U.S. last month, bucking a software-led decline that saw industry sales slump to their lowest since October 2006.

Xbox 360 sales increased 39 percent to 270,000 units from a year earlier, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said yesterday in an e-mailed statement, citing industry tracker NPD Group Inc. Sony Corp. (6758), maker of the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, said its hardware sales rose 14 percent.

Microsoft sold more Xbox 360 consoles than any other platform 11 of the past 12 months in the U.S, according to NPD data. Xbox 360 is likely to be number one worldwide by the end of this year with the biggest blockbuster games, Kinect games and experiences, NPD said.

Industrywide, a light slate of new game software and Nintendo Co.’s aging Wii console contributed to a 14 percent decline in overall retail sales to $743.1 million in May, Port Washington, New York-based NPD said in an e-mailed statement. The figure doesn’t include digital sales of games.

“Overall, the Xbox 360 platform has contributed 34 percent of year-to-date revenues” across hardware, content and accessories, said Anita Frazier, an analyst with NPD. The platform has gained 7 percentage points of market share, she said.

Industry hardware sales dropped 5 percent to $228.9 million, and software declined 19 percent to $375.8 million, NPD reported.

Sony’s PS3 and PSP both showed unit-sales growth, NPD reported, without citing exact figures.

Sony, based in Tokyo, suffered an almost monthlong outage to its PlayStation Network and Qriocity online services following a hacker attack in April. More than 100 million accounts were illegally accessed, resulting in the second- largest data breach in U.S. history.

Sales of Nintendo’s 3DS handheld, which lets users play 3-D games without the need for special glasses, remained light, Frazier said. Games featuring Nintendo characters such as Zelda should help increase sales of the hardware in coming months, she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at cedwards28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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