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

June 14, 2012 at 3:42 PM

NPD: Game sales down 28 percent, but Diablo boosts PC sales

Another month, another gloomy NPD report on the state of the video game industry.

The reseach firm’s latest says game sales fell 28 percent in May, to $516.5 million. Hardware sales fell especially hard, dropping 39 percent from 2011 levels, to $138.9 million.

That’s for U.S. physical game and hardware sales. Not included in the totals are digital sales, including downloads and microtransactions. NPD estimates that digital sales were around $420 million, which would boost overall U.S. game spending to $1.17 billion.

A bright spot was PC game sales, which rose 230 percent, driven by the release of “Diablo III.” It was the top-selling game in May, the first time a PC game topped the charts since July 2010, NPD said in its release.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in the release that game companies released 27 percent fewer titles last month, “which we believe is a big part of the softness we’re seeing in May sales.”

Microsoft’s Xbox group issued a release noting that it sold 160,000 consoles last month. Retail sales on the platform were $209 million “and more than the spend on the other two current-generation consoles combined,” it said.

Here are the top 10 physical games sold during the month:

Diablo III (PC)

Max Payne 3 (360, PS3, PC)

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360, PS3)

Prototype 2 (360, PS3)

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

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

Sniper Elite V2 (360, PS3)

Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)

Dragon’s Dogma (360, PS3)

Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)

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