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Console Sales Slow, Nintendo DS Tops List

Sales of videogame software and hardware in the U.S. rose 9 percent in August to $994.8 million, according to data from market researcher NPD Group, per the ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Sales of the portable Nintendo DS topped 514,000 in August, bringing the total sold in the U.S. to almost 22 million. Nintendo Wii was the second-highest seller with 448,000 sold, for a lifetime total of almost 22 million. Microsoft's Xbox 360 came in third with 192,000 units sold and Sony's PlayStation 3 coming in fourth with 185,400 units.

Despite the gain, that's the lowest monthly increase in two years.

The $384.6 million in game hardware sold in the U.S. is up 3 percent from a year ago. Software sales rose 13 percent to $489.1 million, short of the 23 percent rise predicted by Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter.

Microsoft lowered the price of the Xbox 360 last Friday, making the least expensive version cheaper than the Wii. No specific numbers have been reported, but the company said this week sales have "surged" with "retailers reporting over 100 percent sales lift for all Xbox 360 models compared to the previous weekend."

The Xbox 360 Arcade costs $200 (down from $280), less than the Wii's price of $250. Sony's 80-gigabyte PlayStation 3, which includes a Blu-ray player, is $400.

Electronic Arts' just-released MADDEN NFL 09 helped boost August's numbers, as well as top sellers WII FIT and MARIO KART from Nintendo.

The videogame industry tends to do well despite economic downturns, as gamers flock to buy new gaming consoles every few years, along with the corresponding games.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier predicted the gaming industry will achieve annual revenues between $22 and $24 billion this year. It is up 32 percent year-to-date.