US videogame sales dropped 26 percent in April, the fourth-largest year-on-year percentage plunge ever, according to market-tracker NPD Group.

Sales of videogame hardware, software and accessories fell to 766.2 million dollars in April from 1.03 billion dollars in the same month a year ago, NPD said late Thursday.

Hardware sales plunged 37 percent to 249.3 million dollars while software sales dropped 22 percent to 398.5 million dollars. Sales of accessories were down nine percent at 118.4 million dollars.

The handheld Nintendo DS was the top-selling game console for the month on sales of more than 440,800 units, less than half the number sold a year ago.

"Even with the decline, the DS was the best-selling hardware system for the month," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "The DS is approaching (Sony's) PS2 as the best-selling hardware system of all time."

The Nintendo Wii was next on sales of 277,200 units followed by Microsoft's Xbox 360 (185,400), Sony's Playstation 3 (180,800 units) and Sony's PSP (65,500).

Ubisoft's "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell" was the top-selling game for the month on sales of 486,100 units but sales for the month were weak overall in the absence of any other blockbuster new releases.

Three Nintendo titles were next: "Pokemon Soulsilver Version" (242,900), "New Super Mario Bros" (200,300) and "Pokemon Heartgold Version" (192,600).

Sony's PSP title "God of War III" sold 180,300 units.

Frazier said April's drop in sales was the worst since July 2009 and the fourth-largest ever in percentage terms.

"Some of the decline is explained by the shift of Easter timing," she said, noting that Easter shopping occurred in March this year instead of April.