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Video game sales continue their slide in January

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Despite some hits, sales still fall.

It has been two years since the video game industry has seen positive growth -- and from the looks of things, it may not see it in 2011, either.

Game software sales were down 5 percent last month as compared to the same period in 2010, according to figures released today by the
NPD Group. Hardware sales were even worse, slumping 8 percent.

There was some good news amidst the doom and gloom, however.
Both declines were far better than analysts were predicting -- and Microsoft's
Kinect still seems to be red hot at retail, as accessory sales, which include
the new motion controllers, were up 6 percent compared to a year ago.

(Technically, Sony's PlayStation Move contributed to that rise as well, but
retailers say the real consumer focus continues to be on the Xbox 360
controller.)

Year to date, the industry is starting 2011 4 percent off of
2010's pace, with overall sales of $1.14 billion. The industry, as a whole, was
down 6 percent in 2010.

As far as game sales go, the list was topped by some
familiar names. While EA's Dead Space 2 and Sony's LittleBigPlanet 2 were the
month's biggest releases, neither made it into the top two for the month's best
sellers.

Instead, Activision-Blizzard's Call of Duty: Black Ops once
again topped the industry. Ubisoft's Just Dance 2 took the number two spot.
(Dead Space 2 took third, by the way, while Sackboy and Co. came in fourth.)

The real shocker of the month, though, was the appearance of
Majesco on the sales charts with Zumba Fitness at number five. That publisher
hasn't cracked the Top 10 for more than two years.

Here's the complete list of top sellers:

Rank

Title

Publisher

1

Call of Duty:
Black Ops (360, PS3, WII, NDS, PC)*

Activision
Blizzard

2

Just Dance 2 (WII)

Ubisoft

3

Dead Space 2 (360,
PS3, PC)*

Electronic Arts

4

Little Big Planet
2 (PS3)

Sony

5

Zumba Fitness:
Join the Party (WII, 360, PS3)

Majesco

6

NBA 2K11 (360,
PS3, PSP, WII, PS2, PC)

Take 2 Interactive

7

Assassin's Creed:
Brotherhood (360, PS3)*

Ubisoft

8

Dance Central
(360)

MTV Games

9

Michael Jackson
The Experience (WII, DS, PSP)*

Ubisoft

10

DC Universe Online
(PS3, PC)*

Sony

*includes special editions

There's not a lot of optimism in the investment community
about a rebound at retail this year, even though most analysts expect there to
be an across the board price cut on hardware of at least $50.

That's not fatal to the industry, though. Brick and mortar
stores represent just 60 percent of the industry's overall revenue today. Used
games, game rentals, subscriptions, digital full game downloads, social network
games, downloadable content and mobile game apps make up the rest — and they're
growing fast.

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