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U.S. Video-Game Industry Sales Fell for Seventh Month

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Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. video-game sales fell for the seventh month in a row, as slumping demand for consoles and other hardware dragged industry revenue down by 4 percent.

Hardware sales sank 26 percent to $280 million, researcher NPD Group Inc. said today in a statement. Software rose 6 percent to $605 million, and accessories gained 18 percent after the September release of Sony Corp.’s Move controller.

The video-game industry is gearing up for the holiday sales season with titles including “Medal of Honor,” released by Electronic Arts Inc. Big-selling items including Microsoft Corp.’s Kinect motion-capture controller and Activision Blizzard Inc.’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops” were released in November and will be included in next month’s report.

“Console and portable hardware unit sales were both down about 30 percent versus last October,” Anita Frazier, an NPD analyst, said in the statement. “An increase in the average retail price for console hardware softened the dollar sales impact a bit.”

NPD, based in Port Washington, New York, stopped reporting unit sales of consoles by manufacturer last month.

“The best-selling hardware system for the month was the Nintendo DS, while the Xbox 360 was the only platform to realize unit sales improvement over last October,” Frazier said. “Versus last month, the Nintendo DS and the Wii were the two systems to increase unit sales on an average sales per week basis.

Holiday Sales

The Nintendo Co. systems are likely to benefit from holiday promotions, Frazier said. The Kyoto, Japan-based company has begun selling red Wii and red DS handheld hardware bundles to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its Mario franchise.

This year’s software titles are stronger than last year’s, analyst Evan Wilson at Pacific Crest Securities said in a research note prior to the results.

The top-selling titles for October included Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.’s “NBA 2K11,” Bethesda Software’s “Fallout: New Vegas” post-apocalyptic game, and the “Medal of Honor” shooting game.

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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