- Associated Press - Thursday, August 12, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Market researcher NPD Group says U.S. retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories inched down 1 percent to $846.5 in July compared with the same month a year ago.

NPD says hardware sales jumped 12 percent to $313.8 million in July. The Xbox 360 from Microsoft Corp. was the month’s best-selling gaming system, thanks to the popularity of its new, slim format.

Software sales, meanwhile, fell 8 percent, to $531.3 million. This figure doesn’t include sales of PC games, so it doesn’t reflect the month’s best-selling title, “StarCraft II.” That game sold more than 1.5 million copies in its first 48 hours in stores, according to its publisher, Activision Blizzard Inc.

Total industry sales for the year through the end of July were down 8 percent, NPD says.