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Games Biz Off to Another Slow Year as Sales Slide

EA's 'Dead Space 3' was February's top-selling title; Wii U still underperforming for Nintendo

It was a rough month for the video game industry in February, with the overall biz seeing sales decline 25% to generate $810 million.

New high-profile game launches didn’t help, with software off 27%, although publishers released fewer games during the period, while hardware also took a 36% hit, according to NPD Group.

During the month, Electronic Arts’ “Dead Space 3” was the top selling game, followed by Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” EA’s “Crysis 3,” Take 2’s “NBA 2K13″ and Konami’s “Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.” Game sales collected $352 million during the month.

On the hardware front, Sony’s PlayStation Vita enjoyed a 30% uptick in sales as the price of the handheld was reduced.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 topped hardware sales in February for the 19th straight month. All hardware generated $244 million in sales during the period.

Over at Nintendo, the Wii U continues to be a slow seller.

While shipments for the console rose 40% in February, to around 60,000, but it still has a way to go before it can be considered a success. In January, Nintendo is said to have shipped just 57,000 units, according to NPD Group. Compare that to the 302,000 Xbox 360 units that Microsoft shipped in February.

“Skylanders,” however, continues to be a big hit for Activision, getting kids used to a new way to play games as Disney looks to launch a similar offering with “Disney Infinity.” That title was delayed to August, to position it closer to the holiday sales season, rather than deeper into the summer months.

“When combining the dollar value of ‘Skylanders’ software as well as accessories, this property has generated over $600 million in the U.S. since launching in October 2011, and sold $35 million in this month alone,” said NPD analyst Liam Callahan. “It will be interesting to watch how this dynamic of physical goods delivering digital content evolves with the launch of ‘Disney Infinity’ later this year.”

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