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June video game retail sales drop 10 percent

- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories dropped 10 percent in June to $995 million compared with the same month a year ago. The industry's second-straight month of sales decline was due largely to a lackluster slate of new game releases.

Market researcher NPD Group said in its monthly report Thursday that sales of video game hardware fell 9 percent to $366.6 million. That includes hand-held game systems and gaming consoles such as the Wii.

Sales of software, the games themselves, dropped 12 percent to $469.5 million. When including PC games, total software sales fell 10 percent to $508.9 million.

Doug Creutz, an analyst with Cowen and Co., had expected June sales to disappoint, although he said several titles aimed at hardcore gamers did worse than expected. Those include "Duke Nukem Forever" from Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., and "Red Faction: Armageddon" from THQ Inc. Both were hurt by poor reviews, he said.

Sales of game accessories, meanwhile, declined 11 percent to $158.9 million.

The month's two best-selling games were "L.A. Noire," which is also published by Take-Two, and "Duke Nukem," which grabbed the No. 2 spot even though it didn't sell as many units as analyst expected. Sony Corp.'s "Infamous 2" was in third place.

NPD does not include game downloads and online games in its monthly retail sales data, so the numbers can sometimes show a decline even if more people are playing games on Facebook, their mobile phones and elsewhere.

The lackluster game sales report comes the same week as Electronic Arts Inc., the publisher of games such as "Madden" and "The Sims," said it is buying PopCap games for at least $750 million. PopCap makes popular Facebook and mobile games such as "Bejeweled and "Plants vs. Zombies."

Zynga Inc., the company behind "FarmVille," filed for an initial public offering earlier this month hoping to raise at least $1 billion.

Shares of GameStop Corp., the world's largest video game retailer, climbed 8 cents to $23.91 in after-hours trading. Shares of Electronic Arts rose 37 cents to $23.88 and shares of Take-Two inched up a penny to $14.50.

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