The video game industry's losing streak continues.

June video game sales dropped 31% compared to June 2008, according to data from market research firm NPD Group. The drop marks the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.

"This is one of the first months where I think the impact of the economy is clearly reflected in the sales numbers," said NPD Analyst Anita Frazier in a statement. "The size of the decline could also point to consumers deferring limited discretionary spending until a big event (must-have new title, hardware price cut) compels them to spend."

The trend can't be attributed to consumer interest, as 4 million new players have entered the market since last year, according to the NPD. "Certainly there is plenty of opportunity in the industry, but the rate of change in many areas of the industry presents a lot of challenge as well ," says Frazier.

All platforms suffered a decline compared to June 2008, with the exception of the Xbox 360, which sold 240,600 units. However, Nintendo continues to dominate hardware sales.

Nintendo DS: 766,500
Nintendo Wii: 361,700
Xbox 360: 240,600
PlayStation 3: 164,700
PSP: 163,500
PlayStation 2: 152,700

The big story in software might involve a game nowhere to be found in June's top 10. Wii Play, a collection of mini-games packaged with a Wii remote, failed to crack the list for the first time since its launch on February 2007, ending a 29-month run. "That's an astonishing record for this industry," Frazier notes.

Activision's open world action game Prototype topped software sales, as consumers scooped up 419,900 copies. UFC 2009 Undisputed continued its strong showing at retail, with the 360 version selling 338,300.

Meanwhile, Wii MotionPlus, the motion-control accessory for the Wii remote, posted a solid debut. The Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 bundle sold 272,400, while the accessory sold an additional 169,000 as a standalone item. The rest of the top 10 (publisher and platform in parentheses):

Prototype (Activision, 360): 419,900
UFC 2009 Undisputed (THQ, 360): 338,300
EA Sports Active (EA, Wii): 289,100
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (EA, Wii): 272,400
Wii Fit (Nintendo, Wii): 271,600
Fight Night Round 4 (EA, 360): 260,800
Fight Night Round 4 (EA, PS3): 210,300
Mario Kart w/ Wheel (Nintendo, Wii): 202,100
Red Faction: Guerrilla (THQ, 360): 199,400
inFamous (Sony, PS3): 192,700

The overall June plunge is the greatest year-over-year monthly decline since September 2000, when the industry experience a 41% drop. Barring any release delays, Frazier remains optimistic. "Even with the industry down 12% year-to-date, with a strong back-half performance, full year sales could still be flat to slightly up to 2008's record-breaking performance."


[Photos: Wikipedia]

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