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Video game sales continue to plummet, down 25% in March

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Mass Effect 3 (EA)

2012's losing streak for video game sales unfortunately kept right on going in March.

Sales of video game software were down 25 percent compared to last year. Hardware sales were down 35 percent, according to The NPD Group, which tracks the numbers. The totals, while disappointing, were within the range expected by Wall St. analysts.

"While it was a disappointing month, and first quarter, for new physical retail sales of video games hardware, software and accessories, it wasn't entirely unexpected given guidance we've seen from several sources," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

Despite its controversial ending, Mass Effect 3 led game sales and was a beacon of light for Electronic Arts. While NPD does not disclose specific sales numbers, it did report that the latest installment of the game sold twice as many copies as Mass Effect 2 did in its first month.

There was also a bright spot for Nintendo's Kid Icarus: Uprising. The 3DS title didn't make the top 10 sales list, but fell short only because it was a single platform game. NPD said if it was still listing games by individual system sales, the 3DS title would have easily made the list.

Hardware sales were especially disappointing, though. All systems saw declines, but the Xbox 360 continued its streak atop the heap. The system has been the best-selling console for the past 15 months and the best selling hardware overall for the past eight.

Analysts expect April to be another rotten month for the industry, but believe sales will pick up noticeably in May, when anticipated titles like Max Payne 3 and Diablo III hit shelves.

Here were the month's top selling games:

Rank Title Publisher
1 Mass Effect 3 Electronic Arts
2 Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Capcom USA
3 MLB 12: The Show Sony (Corp)
4 NBA 2K12 Take 2 Interactive
5 SSX 2012 Electronic Arts
6 Street Fighter X Tekken Capcom USA
7 Mario Party 9 Nintendo
8 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Activision Blizzard
9 Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Namco Bandai Games
10 Major League Baseball 2K12 Take 2 Interactive

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