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Video-Game Retail Sales in U.S. Slid 34% in January, Researcher NPD Says

U.S. retail sales of video-game hardware, software and accessories tumbled 34 percent in January to $750.6 million from a year earlier, researcher NPD Group Inc. said today in an e-mailed statement.

Sales a year ago were $1.14 billion, when the industry benefited from titles such as “Dead Space 2” and “Little Big Planet 2,” NPD reported.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Xbox 360 led the console category with sales of 270,000 units, down from 381,000 a year ago, David Dennis, a product manager for the company, said in an interview, citing NPD data.

“We’ve shown that we can deliver new experiences by updating the Xbox experience with new software,” Dennis said. “We’re bringing more value to the 360, we’re bringing more experiences with Kinect and new software. It’s like every year there’s a new Xbox.”

Dennis declined to comment on reports that the Redmond, Washington-based company will introduce a new console in June at the annual E3 video-game industry show.

Retail sales of packaged video games have fallen sharply in the past year as consumers purchase games for play on smartphones and social networks such as Facebook Inc., NPD reported.

The Port Washington, New York-based research firm estimates sales of games through alternative channels accounted for an additional $350 million to $400 million.

Sony Corp. (6758) had “solid results” for the PlayStation 3 in January with retailer promotions such as “Play Days” helping increase sales for the console and its peripherals, said Patrick Seybold, a spokesman, in an e-mailed statement.

The Tokyo-based company plans to begin selling its PlayStation Vita handheld console in the U.S. and Europe on Feb. 22.

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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