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US videogame sales slide

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 13 – US videogame sales slid 19 percent in October from the same month last year, NPD Group reported Thursday, with fresh releases of blockbuster titles being counted on to reverse the trend.

Videogame sales hit 1.07 billion dollars for the month, according to NPD.

"The continued economic turmoil, and in particular the troubling unemployment rate, is undoubtedly impacting industry sales," said NPD videogame analyst Anita Frazier.

Sales of videogame hardware totaled 380.74 million dollars compared to just under 497 million dollars in the same month last year, according to NPD.

Microsoft\’s Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) consoles accounted for 27 and 26 percent of industry sales for the month.

"We saw continued momentum on PS3 with nearly 70 percent growth when compared to last October," said PlayStation Network senior vice president Peter Dille.

"It\’s an understatement to say we\’re excited for this holiday and we don\’t have any plans to slow down."

Nintendo\’s Wii consoles and DS handheld game devices claimed top hardware sales positions for October, according to NPD.

"Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" made exclusively for the PS3 was ranked the hottest selling videogame in October, with 537,000 units bought.

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A "Wii Fit Plus" exercise game for Nintendo videogame consoles was the second most popular title of the month, selling 441,000 copies.

November and December are traditionally the strongest months for videogame hardware sales.

"With the excitement already being generated by \’Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,\’ and the incredible buzz around upcoming titles \’New Super Mario Bros. Wii\’ and \’Assassin\’s Creed 2,\’ November is poised to be a strong month," Frazier said.

"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" blasted past 300 million dollars in sales in the 24 hours after its worldwide launch on November 10, blowing away even Hollywood films to become the highest-grossing entertainment launch ever.

"MW2" racked up 310 million dollars in sales in the United States and Britain alone, besting Batman superhero film "The Dark Knight," which holds the record for the top opening weekend ever for taking in 158.4 million dollars in July 2008.

Eagerly-anticipated "Assassin\’s Creed 2" is to be released Tuesday by videogame titan Ubisoft.

The US videogame industry is on track to generate full-year revenues in the range of 20 to 21 billion dollars, which would put it a bit below last year\’s sales of 21.3 billion dollars, NPD reported.

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