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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

February 9, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Ghastly plunge for video games, Xbox holds lead

The video game industry played submarine last month.

Sales dove deep in January, falling 34 percent to $750.6 million, according to the monthly NPD report on U.S. physical game sales.

That includes a 38 percent decline in sales of game hardware, 38 percent decline in software sales and 18 percent decline in accessories.

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There were few releases to buoy sales and most likely buyers spent their game budget during the holidays. Sales also looked weak compared to the surge driven by Microsoft’s Kinect in January 2011, NPD analyst Anita Baker said in the release.

“While the lack of new launches was a major reason for software declines, games which launched in Q4 11 also performed poorly in Jan ’12, down 31% in units compared to Q4 ’10 launches in Jan ’11,” she said in the release. “As shoppers were not drawn to stores due to new launch activity, this potentially impacted additional software purchases made on impulse.”

Microsoft held onto its bragging rights. The Xbox 360 was the top-selling console for the thirteenth straight month.

More than 270,000 Xbox 360 consoles were sold last month, giving Microsoft a 49 percent share of current-generation console sales.

“We’ll probably see an up month in February but you can never crystal-ball,” said Xbox spokesman David Dennis.

Here are the top-selling games in January, according to NPD:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)

Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PS3, PC)

NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, PSP, Wii, PS2, PC)

Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)

Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2)

Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure (Wii, 3DS, 360, PS3, PC)

Zumba Fitness 2: Party Yourself (Wii)

Saints Row: TheThird (360, PS3, PC)

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