Sales of videogame gear and software at stores slid anew in September, data showed Thursday, but the significance of the drop was difficult to assess given a trend to downloading titles online as digital content.

Revenue from videogame hardware and titles tallied 1.22 billion dollars, eight percent less than the 1.32 billion dollars taken in during the same month last year, according to data released by NPD Group.

"While industry sales of new physical retail sales show a decline versus year ago, it's important to remember that there is a growing volume of content being sold digitally," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

"These numbers reflect the largest channel for hardware, software and accessories sales, but there are content sales happening elsewhere."

Sales of videogame consoles totaled 383 million dollars, a 19 percent drop from the 472 million dollars logged in September of last year, according to NPD.

Science fiction battle videogame "Halo: Reach" published by Microsoft for play on Xbox 360 consoles was ranked as the top title, with 3.3 million copies sold not counting those bundled with hardware.

The one area in which sales rose was videogame accessories.

Sony's freshly-released Move motion-sensing controllers for PlayStation 3 (PS3) consoles credited for helping drive accessories sales of 180 million dollars, a 13 percent increase from the same month in 2009.

Points cards that can be used for buying digital content at Xbox 360 Live and PS3 online game play networks were the most popular accessories, in that order, according to NPD.

"We continue to examine industry sales that occur outside the traditional retail channel, and the success of these items at retail, points to the growing importance of sales via digital distribution," Frazier said.