January games sales slump

US video game sales are still on the slide, with NPD reporting January figures 13 percent down on last year.

The total spend on consoles, games and accessories was $1.2 billion.

January’s never a good month for hardware sales, but games tend to sell reasonably well, partly because of consumers spending gift cards, and partly because so many people got a new console over the holidays and need something to play.

But this year, software sales were down 12 percent on last January at $598 million. The month’s best-selling title was Nintendo’s New Super Mario Bros, followed by Mass Effect 2 from Electronic Arts.

But there’s likely to be an upturn over the next couple of months, with some big launches expected, including BioShock 2, Dante’s Inferno and God of War III.

Hardware fared even worse, with total spend falling a massive 21 percent to $354 million. This poor performance follows a rather good December, in which sales hit nearly $2.2 billion.

The Nintendo Wii hung on to the top spot, says NPD, with 465,800 units sold. The DS was in second place, selling 422,200.

The Microsoft Xbox 360 came third, with 332,800 units sold, followed by Sony’s PlayStation 3 with 276,900.

Sales of accessories rose very slightly to $217 million.