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U.S. Video-Game Industry Sales Up 9% in Five-Week January Period

U.S. retail sales of video-game software, hardware and accessories rose 9 percent to $834.7 million in January, aided by an extra week compared with a year earlier, according to market research firm NPD Group Inc.

Even with five weeks in this year’s January data, sales of software fell 0.5 percent to $392.9 million, the Port Washington, New York-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. Hardware sales rose 3.7 percent to $205 million in the period ended Feb. 2.

The retail-industry data accounts for about 50 percent of total consumer spending on games, NPD said. With a normalized four-week comparison, hardware and software sales would have experienced double-digit percentage declines, the researcher said.

Microsoft Corp. held the lead in console sales in January for the 25th consecutive month. The Redmond, Washington-based company sold 281,000 Xbox 360 units, up 4.1 percent from 270,000 a year ago, said David Dennis, an Xbox spokesman.

The video-game industry, in the eighth year of the current console cycle, has entered a period of transition to new consoles. Nintendo Co. began selling the Wii U in November, Sony Corp. has scheduled a Feb. 20 meeting where it’s expected to discuss plans for a new PlayStation 4. Microsoft’s Dennis declined to comment on reports that the company will begin selling a new Xbox later this year.

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