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Video game sales continue slide in March

April 12, 2012 |  4:43 pm

MassEffect3
March was another brutal month for sales of video game discs and consoles as total revenue dropped 25% in the U.S. from the same month last year, according to research firm NPD Group.

It was the fourth straight month that video game industry sales have dropped and comes after revenue fell 8% in 2011. However, the data include only sales of physical games and consoles and excludes the fast-growing but still smaller market for digital downloads, social and mobile video games.

It was the devices themselves that suffered the most, with revenue down 35% to $323.5 million. NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in an email that while sales of all video game devices were down, "high definition consoles" — meaning Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's Playstation 3 — fared best. That meant Nintendo's Wii and handheld 3DS and Sony's new handheld Playstation Vita, which debuted in February, appear to have sold poorly.

Sales of software — the games themselves — dropped 25% to $553.1 million. Electronic Arts' highly anticipated science-fiction sequel Mass Effect 3 was the month's best-selling game, while Capcom's newest installment in its Resident Evil horror series, Operation Raccoon City, came in at No. 2.

Activision Blizzard's kids' game series Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure continued to be popular, NPD said. The game itself, released in October, was still the No. 15 title in March. More significantly, three Skylander "character packs" — toys that can be integrated into the game — were among the top-10-selling video game accessories for the month. "The [Skylanders] accessory items are selling phenomenally well," said Frazier.

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— Ben Fritz

Photo: An image from Mass Effect 3. Credit: Associated Press.

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