US videogame sales slip on dearth of hot titles

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The Independent Tech

US videogame industry sales slipped in July despite a jump in the number of shoppers snatching up Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Wii consoles, figures released Thursday by NPD Group showed.

The 846.5 million dollars spent on videogame hardware and software was about one percent less than the revenue posted in the same month last year and came despite console sales climbing 12 percent to 313.8 million dollars.

Sales of videogame software tallied 403.3 million dollars in an eight percent drop from the 438 million dollars spent on titles in July of 2009.

The figures, plus stellar sales of a freshly released "Starcraft II" game for play on personal computers, lent weight to the argument that revenue is suffering due to a dearth of hot new titles.

Only four of the 10 top selling videogames in July were released that month, and two titles on the list had been out since early November.

Those titles were "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" for Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles and "New Super Mario Brothers" for play on the Wii from Nintendo.

The best selling title for the month was an "NCAA Football 11" game made by Electronic Arts for play on Xbox 360 or Sony PS3 consoles.

Sales of the football videogame totaled 692,000 units compared to the 721,000 copies of "Starcraft II" sold in July, according to NPD.

Xbox 360 consoles were the most popular sellers in July, driven by demand for a slim, powerful new model, according to NPD. Microsoft was reported to have sold 443,500 Xbox 360 consoles during the month.

Sony sold 214,500 PS3 consoles in the US in July, NPD reported.

Nintendo sold 253,900 Wii units in July, and put out word this week that the number of its consoles bought in the United States had broken the 30 million mark.

The milestone earned Wii the crown of fastest-selling console in history, having reached 30 million just 45 months after its launch in the US in November of 2006, according to Nintendo.

Wii lured legions of new players to videogames with innovative motion-sensing controls that have prompted competitors to follow suit.