US Video Game Sales Plummet in January, PS3 Sales Up

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Video Game Sales Down

They're up, they're down, they're pretty much all around, that's the takeaway from NPD's January retail video game sales data. If the last few months have seemed a bit rollercoaster-y, count January as one of the steeper dips, plunging 13 percent in combined hardware, software, and accessory sales from January 2009.

Video game hardware took the biggest hit, dropping from $447m to $354m in sales, a considerable 21 percent fall. While software sales were also down from $683m to $598m, video game accessories were actually up a hair, from $212m to $217m, a 2 percent blip of an increase.

Here's the January 2010 hardware sales breakdown, with growth compared to January 2009.

466k - Wii (-31%)
422k - Nintendo DS (-17%)
333k - Xbox 360 (+7%)
277k - PlayStation 3 (+36%)
100k - PSP (-42%)
42k - PlayStation 2 (-58%)

As usual, Nintendo claimed "inventory shortages" were partially to blame for the Wii's sales drop.

"Holiday shoppers depleted our supplies even after our fourth holiday season," said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of Sales and Marketing in a press statement. "We appreciate the nearly 900,000 consumers who turned to Nintendo to get a great value for their entertainment dollars."

Microsoft was equally upbeat, noting the 56,000 unit gap between it and Sony's PS3 and claiming a "nearly eight million units" US lead over the PS3 in total.

Sony predictably emphasized the PS3's year-over-year sales, calling it "the only hardware console to see double digit growth."

Time to drop the PS2 from the list? Probably. Rest in peace, bestselling-platform-in-the-history-of-gaming (until the DS catches up, that is, which should be any month now).

And here's the January 2010 software sales breakdown.

657k - New Super Mari Bros Wii (Wii)
572k - Mass Effect 2 (360)
556k - Wii Fit Plus w/Balance Board (Wii)
327k - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360)
311k - Mario Kart w/Wheel (Wii)
298k - Wii Sports Resort w/Wii Motion Plus (Wii)
259k - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3)
247k - Army of Two: The 40th Day (360)
192k - Just Dance (Wii)
171k - Darksiders (360)

Nintendo has a lot of be proud of here, considering New Super Mario Bros Wii, which launched back in November 2009, beat EA's Mass Effect 2 during the latter's debut month (though to be fair, Mass Effect 2 launched on January 26, affording it a tiny sales window likely carried by preorders and week-one enthusiasts--we'll need February to properly assess the game's broader standing).

Otherwise Microsoft and Nintendo cleaned up in top 10 software spots. Sony's rarely held more than a single spot here, an issue they're no doubt hoping to partially correct when major exclusives like Heavy Rain and God of War III ship this month and next.

Connect with Matt on Twitter (@game_on)

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