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U.S. Video-Game Retail Sales Drop on Consoles, Software Titles

Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. video-game retail sales fell 26 percent last month, led by lower demand for consoles such as Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360, researcher NPD Group said.

Retail-store sales of game hardware, software and accessories from all makers fell 26 percent to $707.7 million, the lowest level since October 2006, from $961.3 million a year earlier, Port Washington, New York-based NPD said in a statement yesterday. Hardware sales declined 29 percent, and software sales slipped 30 percent, the researcher said.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, posted a drop in sales of Xbox 360 for the first time since December 2009. Sales of the console, which was the top-selling video-game player in July, plunged 37.6 percent to 277,000 units.

“This is more of a reflection of robust sales last July, which was the biggest month for unit sales of the 360 in 2010 outside the holiday months November and December,” Anita Frazier, an analyst at NPD, said in the statement.

Xbox sales in July last year were boosted after Microsoft cut prices to clear old models for a redesigned console.

Consumers are increasing their spending to buy content in other ways such as electronic purchases of full games, mobile games and social-network gaming, Frazier said. “We have measured some remarkable growth” in those areas, she said.

Sales of Sony Corp.’s motion-sensing Move peripheral for the PlayStation 3 rose 18 percent from a year earlier, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement, without citing figures or overall hardware sales.

Nintendo Co.’s sales of DS and 3DS handheld players were “about flat to last year,” NPD said, adding sales of all hardware platforms dropped last month. The Kyoto, Japan-based company cut prices of the 3DS by 32 percent to $169.99 in the U.S., starting today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at cedwards28@bloomberg.net; Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rob Golum at rgolum@bloomberg.net; Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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