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Blockbuster releases fail to halt US sales decline

But long-term statistics show a more positive trend

Total retail games industry revenue generated in November across the US was down eleven per cent year-on-year, despite a wave of big releases such as Black Ops 2, Assassin's Creed 3 and Nintendo's Wii U.

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Despite revenue falling year-on-year to $2.55 billion in November, sales monitor NPD estimates that total business probably climbed to $3.1 billion when including money generated from digital games sales and rentals (which NPD cannot measure).

The firm notes that the packaged goods decline comes in the face of the number of game releases falling by a fifth compared to November 2011 - more indication that the publishing sector is presently focusing on safer, sure-fire hits.

Revenue from software sales declined 11 per cent year-on-year, with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 beating Halo 4 to the top of the monthly sales chart, while revenue from hardware sales fell 13 per cent, with Xbox 360 the top-selling console for the 23rd consecutive month.

NPD also suggests that long-term statistics show a more positive trend. The current hardware generation is likely in its final year - traditionally the slowest business period in the console cycle - before new consoles from both Sony and Microsoft are released.

"It's important to compare this month's results to November 2005, which was the last time the industry began to transition between console generations with the launch of a new platform," says NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

"Comparing this month's results to November 2005, retail video games sales are nearly twice as big as they were then (+97%). This really demonstrates the long-term health of retail sales even as many platforms are quite late in their lifecycles."

Monthly year-on-year sales declines have been ongoing throughout 2012, but NPD notes that November is the least worst performer, suggesting that momentum - at least for the remainder of the year - is positive.

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