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Game industry sales slide as Wii U continues to disappoint

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Dead Space 3 topped the charts in February (Credit: EA)

The video game industry's retail losing streak just keeps getting uglier.

Brick and mortar video game sales were down in February, and once again they falling far short of analysts' weak expectations. Software sales, which are the most closely watched figure, were down 27 percent from a year ago to $352 million.

Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, had forecast a software sales drop of just 18 percent.

Making that dip even more surprising is the fact that it comes despite a month that, arguably, had stronger titles than February 2012. Last year's top titles (aside from the ever-present Call of Duty) were Final Fantasy XIII-2 and UFC Undisputed 3. This year, Dead Space 3 led the pack, joined by big-name games Crysis 3 and the long-awaited Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

Of greater concern are the continuing sales problems of Nintendo’s Wii U. Only 66,000 Wii Us were sold in February, a negligible improvement over the 57,000 units sold in January. By comparison, Nintendo sold over 335,000 Wii consoles during its first February. By even uglier comparison, Microsoft says it sold over 302,000 Xbox 360s to again retain the hardware top spot.

Those dismal Wii U sales no doubt contributed to low hardware sales in general, which were down 36 percent compared to the 2012 figures. Overall, the industry took in just $810 million at physical storefronts last month, a 25 percent shortfall from last year (which, it's worth noting was down 23 percent from the 2011 numbers.)

To further put into perspective how much brick and mortar video game sales have fallen, year to date for 2013 the industry is more than $1 billion behind where it was in 2009.

March -- which enjoys the launches of hotly-anticipated games like Tomb Raider, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, BioShock Infinite, God of War: Ascension and Gears of War: Judgment -- has a lot of pressure on its shoulders.

Here's a look at the February’s top selling titles:

Rank Title Publisher
1 Dead Space 3 Electronic Arts
2 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Activision Blizzard
3 Crysis 3 Electronic Arts
4 NBA 2K13 Take 2 Interactive
5 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Konami Digital Entertainment
6 Aliens: Colonial Marines 2013 Sega
7 Just Dance 4 Ubisoft
8 Far Cry 3 Ubisoft
9 Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Sony
10 Madden NFL 13 Electronic Arts

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