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September sales plunge. Halo can’t save the month.

The consensus among analysts and industry observers was that strong sales of “Halo: Reach” would be enough to bring video game sales into positive territory in September. Halo-reach-npd

The consensus was wrong. Very, very wrong.

Software sales at retail stores fell 6 percent last month to $614 million, according to The NPD Group. Compare that to analyst predictions of a rise of up to 4 percent.

There were only two pieces of good news in the report – which is vastly less informative than previous NPD reports due to a new reporting structure by the organization.

The first was, in fact, “Halo: Reach” sales, which hit 3.3 million – on par with “Halo 3” and “Halo 2”.

The other was that the Xbox 360 continues to be the source of light and warmth among the hardware category. It was the only console to gain ground last month versus 2009.

“Xbox 360 hardware sales were up versus last year, and this month marks the best month of unit sales for the platform yet in 2010 which says a lot considering sales are up 34 percent on a year-to-date basis,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

Hardware sales were down 19 percent to $383 million. Overall, the industry remains 8 percent behind its pace of a year ago.

The month’s top selling games – now broken out by title instead of platform – are available after the break.

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