• Bloomberg

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Nintendo Co.’s DS hand-held players and Wii consoles led a 10 percent decline in U.S. video game hardware and software sales in August, according to market researcher NPD Group Inc.

Overall sales dropped to $818.9 million last month, with revenue from hardware falling 5 percent and game software dropping 14 percent, NPD said.

Sales of the touch screen DS slumped 38 percent to 342,700 players, while those of the Wii fell 12 percent to 244,300 consoles, the lowest since its debut in November 2006, the researcher said Thursday.

Nintendo, whose DS sales fell for five straight months in the U.S., will release a successor model with a 3-D screen this fiscal year to boost demand. The Wii, which allows players to simulate tennis shots and golf club or sword strokes by using a controller, is facing increased competition as Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. release their own motion-sensing devices.

“This month reflected the lowest sales for August since 2006,” Anita Frazier, an NPD analyst, said. “While all categories are down in both dollars and units, the portable portion of the industry is down to a greater extent.”

Purchases of Sony’s PlayStation Portable tumbled 43 percent to 79,400, NPD said.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in the U.S. last month with 356,700 units sold, or 66 percent more than a year earlier, the researcher said. PlayStation 3 sales rose 7.6 percent to 226,000.

The consoles benefited from the release of Electronic Arts Inc.’s “Madden NFL 2011,” the month’s top-selling title with 1.81 million copies for the Xbox and PlayStation, NPD said. “Super Mario Galaxy 2” for the Wii was third, selling 124,600 units.

Microsoft said in July it plans to introduce its Kinect motion-sensing accessory with a free game in November for $149.99. Sony’s Move controller, resembling Wii’s wand with a colored ball at the top, will go on sale in the U.S. in September for $49.99, the company said in June.

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