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Bioshock Infinite tops charts in another slumping sales month

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BioShock Infinite (Credit: 2K Games/Irrational Games)

If there was a beacon of hope for the video game industry in the first half of 2013, it was Bioshock Infinite. The hotly-anticipated game, currently the top-rated title of the year, was the best chance for retail sales to rebound and return to positive territory.

As it turns out, Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth couldn't quite live up to that pressure -- even with Lara Croft, Kratos and the Gears of War crew backing them up.

Overall, sales were down 10 percent compared to last year to $992.5 million. This is the first time in at least five years that the video game industry has failed to top $1 billion in physical retail sales in March, traditionally a month of big releases. It's important to note, however, that these numbers still don't include digital sales via services like Steam and Xbox Live.

The silver lining? Brick and mortar software sales (console, portable and PC) were up a modest 2% over March 2012.

To no one's surprise, BioShock Infinite was the month's top game, while the reboot of Tomb Raider took the number two spot. And they didn't just squeak by: according to NPD's Liam Callahan, the two games enjoyed "the highest first month sales for games in these franchises."

The most surprising title on the month’s bestseller list, though, was The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, a first-person shooter from Activision based on the AMC series that was absolutely eviscerated by critics.

Hardware sales were down significantly once again, falling 32 percent as consumers continue to hold off on console purchases with the looming launch of new systems from Sony and Microsoft. Microsoft's Xbox 360 once again led the way with 261,000 units sold, though numbers for Sony's PS3 and Nintendo's Wii U have yet to be revealed. Nintendo did have a nice month with its 3DS handheld, however, with an 8 percent increase in sales compared to last March.

Here's a look at the top selling games of March 2013:

Rank Title Publisher
1 Bioshock Infinite Take 2 Interactive
2 Tomb Raider 2013 Square Enix Inc
3 Gears of War: Judgement Microsoft
4 God of War: Ascension Sony
5 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Activision Blizzard
6 Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon Nintendo
7 MLB 13: The Show Sony
8 NBA 2K13 Take 2 Interactive
9 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct Activision Blizzard
10 Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Namco Bandai Games

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