U.S. Video-Game Retail Sales Slide 10% in March, NPD Says

U.S. retail sales of video-game hardware, software and accessories fell 10 percent to $992.5 million last month, according to researcher NPD Group Inc., extending a slump fueled by gamers shifting to mobile gadgets.

Hardware sales fell the most, declining 32 percent to $221.6 million, compared with a year ago, Port Washington, New York-based NPD said in an e-mailed statement today. Software sales for the current generation consoles, which have been on the market for seven years, slipped 1 percent to $554.8 million.

Sales of packaged-game products are declining as more consumers download digital games on smartphones and tablets. Physical sales accounted for about 50 percent of total U.S. consumer spending on games, NPD said.

Total software sales, including titles for personal computers, gained 2 percent to $602.4 million, the first increase since November 2011. Sales were buoyed by Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. titles “BioShock Infinite” and “NBA 2K13.”

Total spending on U.S. video-game hardware and software, including used-games, rentals and digitally delivered content, was almost $1.9 billion, Liam Callahan, an analyst at NPD, estimated.

Microsoft Corp. said U.S. retailers sold 261,000 Xbox 360 game consoles last month, a decline of 30 percent compared with a year earlier. The company, based in Redmond, Washington, held its spot as the No. 1 selling model in March.

Video-game makers voluntarily report their sales tallies. Nintendo Co. and Sony Corp. do not typically release monthly figures. Nintendo’s 3DS handheld sales grew 9 percent over a year ago, NPD said, without citing exact figures.

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