Lauren Goode

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U.S. Videogame Sales Sank Deeper in February

In February, U.S. retail sales of videogames fell 20 percent from a year ago, according to market research group NPD.

Despite some industry gains from January to February, overall sales totaled $1.06 million last month, down from $1.33 billion year over year; software sales fell 23 percent to $464 million, and hardware sales dropped 18 percent to $381.4 million.

February’s best-selling software title was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, from Activision Blizzard.

While most hardware platforms posted declines year over year, “all current-generation platforms improved sales over January 2012 by more than 50 percent,” NPD said in a note.

A consistent bright spot has been the Microsoft Xbox, which was the best-selling hardware platform for the seventh month in a row. Some 426,000 Xbox units were sold in February, marking the 12th consecutive month Xbox has held more than 40 percent of the current-generation console market share.

And all eyes were on the Sony PlayStation Vita handheld gaming device, which came to market in late February. Only four days of retail sales for the PS Vita were included in this reporting period, but the device gave overall hardware unit sales a month-over-month boost. Not including the PS Vita, hardware unit sales increased by 62 percent over January, NPD said; with PS Vita sales included, the increase was 87 percent.

“More than 1.2 million PS Vita units have been sold globally since launch,” Patrick Seybold, senior director of communications at Sony Computer Entertainment America, said in a statement. “Customer satisfaction rates are very high and momentum will continue as gamers get their hands on a deep lineup of blockbuster titles that take advantage of PS Vita’s unique features, including cross-platform play with the PlayStation 3.”

In January, the videogame industry saw a double-digit decline in physical software sales, as my colleague Tricia Duryee reports, following a number of noteworthy game launches ahead of the holiday season.

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