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U.S. Video-Game Retail Sales Slide 25% in March, NPD Says

U.S. sales of video-game hardware, software and accessories tumbled 25 percent in March to $1.1 billion from a year earlier, researcher NPD Group Inc. said today in an e-mailed statement.

Retail sales totaled $1.47 billion a year earlier, when Nintendo Co. introduced the 3DS handheld game player in the U.S. market. Microsoft Corp., buoyed by its Kinect motion-sensing peripheral and entertainment partnerships with ESPN, HBO and other providers, has led console sales for 15 consecutive months, according to NPD, a research firm in Port Washington, New York.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, sold 371,000 Xbox 360 consoles, down from 433,000 a year ago, the company said in a separate e-mailed statement, citing NPD figures. It was the 13th consecutive month that the company has topped 40 percent in market share, NPD said.

Video-game makers voluntarily report their sales tallies. Nintendo and Sony Corp. often don’t report monthly figures, and they didn’t for March.

Nintendo probably sold 235,000 Wii consoles and 240,000 3DS handhelds, said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, in an April 9 research note.

Sony sold 325,000 console units, down 10 percent from a year earlier, and about 125,000 of its new PlayStation Vita handheld model, Pachter said, citing checks of U.S. sales outlets and company data. Retail sales of packaged video games have fallen sharply for about two years as consumers purchase games for play on smartphones and social networks such as Facebook Inc., NPD reported.

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