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October video game retail sales slide 4 percent

- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories slipped 4 percent in October as demand for most gaming consoles declined from a year earlier, according to data from market researcher NPD Group.

Overall game sales were $1.07 billion last month, down from $1.11 billion in October of last year, NPD said on Tuesday. Year-to-date sales were down 8 percent at the end of October, at $11.07 billion.

"Keep in mind that these sales only reflect new physical retail sales," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier in a statement. "While down, there are revenues being generated from digital distribution, used game sales, rentals, social network games and mobile applications to name a few."

Hardware sales tumbled 26 percent to $280 million from $381 million a year ago. With the exception of Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360, every gaming system saw a decline in unit sales, NPD said. The Xbox sold 325,000 units, up 30 percent year-over-year, Microsoft said.

Sales of game software, meanwhile, climbed 6 percent to $605 million from $573 million. The basketball blockbuster "NBA 2K11" from Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. was the month's best-selling title. It was followed by the shooter "Fallout: New Vegas" from Bethesda Softworks and "Medal of Honor" from Electronic Arts Inc. The number doesn't include "Call of Duty: Black Ops," which went on sale Nov. 9 and shattered the entertainment industry sales record held by its predecessor, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

Sales of game accessories jumped 18 percent to $142 million.

Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, said in a recent interview he expects Nintendo to do well during the November-December holiday sales period.

"Last year, we sold close to 50 percent of hardware on (the holidays)," he said. While Nintendo is not planning to cut the price of the $199 Wii, Fils-Aime added that some retailers are doing this on their own as they work to lure shoppers into their stores.

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