'Halo' can't bolster hardware, software numbers

Despite living up to the hype, strong sales of Microsoft’s “Halo: Reach” didn’t have a halo effect on the rest of the videogame biz in September.

Overall, the games industry suffered another setback, with hardware and software sales down 8% to $1.2 billion for the month. For the entire year, industry sales are down 8% to $9.9 billion, according to market research company NPD Group.

“Halo: Reach” was the best-selling game in September, moving 3.3 million units not including versions bundled with consoles. Electronic Arts’ “Madden NFL 11,” Capcom’s “Dead Rising 2,” EA’s “NHL 11″ and “FIFA Soccer 11,” round out the top five. In September, seven of the top 10 games were new titles.

NPD cautioned that the figures did not reflect the increase in digital purchases.

“There is a growing volume of content being sold digitally, or otherwise outside the traditional retail channel,” NPD’s videogame analyst Anita Frazier said. “These numbers reflect the largest channel for hardware, software and accessories sales, but there are content sales happening elsewhere.”

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