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Video game sales down 29% in June

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Lego Batman 2 (Credit: Warner Bros. Interactive)

The next generation of consoles can't get here fast enough.

According to the NPD Group, overall video game sales were down 29 percent in June compared to last year ($699.8 million to $989.5 million). Hardware sales were hit hardest, tumbling a massive 45 percent, though game accessories -- such as gift cards and Skylanders figurines -- were up slightly.

The hardware decline was brutal, though Microsoft could at least trumpet some success by once again outselling the competition. Over 257,000 Xbox 360s were sold in June, making it 18 straight months at the top of the monthly charts for the console.

A pair of new games led the software sales chart. The top earner was Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, which sold over450,000 copies across various consoles, followed by Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Max Payne 3, meanwhile, has reason to down a few more painkillers and bottles of scotch: Rockstar's action romp was once again second fiddle to Diablo III, taking fourth place in the sales chart.

The numbers reflect the dire situation at physical retail stores for the industry. In June, video game sales totaled just shy of $700 million. Just four years ago, they were more than double that amount, coming in at $1.7 billion.

Industry proponents have started to downplay NPD numbers in recent months, however, saying it doesn't focus enough on digital sales.

EA executive Frank Gibeau, for example, recently said "An occasional bad report from NPD, which measures a sliver of what's actually happening in gaming, gives people an erroneous impression. My point is it's an irrelevant measure on the industry. It's totally irrelevant. We don't even really look at it internally anymore."

Even when digital numbers are included, though, things look grim. While the monthly reports do not include digital sales, NPD recently issued its updated first quarter industry numbers, which fold in digital sales, used game sales and rentals. That raised the sales figure from $1.5 billion to $3.4 billion.

That sounds like a nice jump -- until you realize that in the first quarter of 2011, that number was $5.9 billion.

Here are the month's top selling games.

Rank Title Publisher
1 Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Warner Bros. Interactive
2 Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Ubisoft
3 Diablo III Activision Blizzard
4 Max Payne 3 Take 2 Interactive
5 NBA 2K12 Take 2 Interactive
6 Batman Arkham City Warner Bros. Interactive
7 Pokemon Conquest Nintendo
8 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Activision Blizzard
9 Battlefield 3 Electronic Arts
10 The Amazing Spider-Man Activision Blizzard

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