US video game sales drop for 8th straight month

LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. retail sales of new video game hardware, software and accessories fell for the eighth straight month in July as the industry continued to look ahead toward the release of new equipment to cure its woes.

Overall sales fell 20 percent to $548.4 million, according to research firm NPD Group.

Sales of consoles and portable software — the video games themselves — fell 23 percent from a year earlier to $278 million.

Sales of hardware fell 32 percent to $151 million. Accessories sales bucked the trend, rising 8 percent to $137 million.

Even with the anticipated launch of Nintendo Co.'s Wii U later in the year, NPD predicted full-year sales will be $14.5 billion, down from $17 billion last year.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier said Thursday the July figures only represent about half of spending on video games.

NPD estimates used game purchases and rentals amounted to $117 million in July, while spending on downloadable games, add-ons, subscriptions, and tiny transactions in social games came to $439 million. It plans to give a full report on non-traditional categories in November.

The top-selling games for the month were "NCAA Football 13" by Electronic Arts; "Lego Batman 2" by Warner Bros. Interactive; and "The Amazing Spider-Man" by Activision Blizzard.

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