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U.S. video game industry sales fell in September, painting a potentially grim picture for the crucial holiday shopping season.
U.S. sales throughout for video game software, hardware and accessories fell to about $1.2 billion, a drop of 8% from roughly $1.32 billion in the same month a year earlier, according to market research firm NPD Group. Analyst Anita Frazier said the slowdown particularly hit video game hardware makers, whose sales fell 19% from the previous year.
Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Xbox 360 was the only winner, NPD numbers showed. The much-anticipated release of the video game "Halo: Reach" helped to bolster its hardware sales through special edition bundles, Frazier said.
Frazier said the results may be overly dramatic because NPD's reporting method includes only new retail sales. Electronic, used game and mobile app sales, for example, are absent from the company's methods.
"While industry sales of new physical retail sales show a decline versus year ago, it's important to remember that there is a growing volume of content being sold digitally, or otherwise outside the traditional retail channel," Frazier said in a statement.
-By Ian Sherr, Dow Jones Newswires; 415-439-6455; firstname.lastname@example.org