Xbox 360 redesign pays off

Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in July

Microsoft's revision of the Xbox 360 brought results in July when the console topped the U.S. video game sales ranking for the first time in three years, according to figures from NPD Group.

The Xbox 360 sold 443,500 units during the month, which is more than double the number sold in the same period a year earlier. The revised Xbox 360 takes advantage of advances in chip and component technology and is slimmer than the original model. It includes several other upgrades, such as faster Wi-Fi and more USB ports.

The Xbox 360 was well ahead of Nintendo's Wii, which sold 253,900 units, and the PlayStation 3, which at 214,500 units sold less than half as well as the Microsoft console.

In the handheld gaming space, the Nintendo DS continued to sell well at 398,400 units. The only other competitor, Sony's PlayStation Portable, was well behind at 84,000 units, NPD said.

Electronic Arts' "NCAA Football 11" was the best-selling game of the month. The Xbox 360 version took the number-one ranking with sales of 368,000 units, and the PlayStation 3 version was the second-best-selling game of the month at 298,800 units.

Overall, the industry recorded another month of contraction.

"The U.S. video games industry declined for the fifth consecutive month, bringing year-to-date sales to $8.16 billion, down 14 percent from the same time period last year," said Anita Frazier, an analyst with NPD, in a statement. "In order for the industry to come in flat or slightly up for the total year, the back five months of the year have to come in 11 percent (or more) higher than the last five months of last year."

The top 10 best-selling games in the U.S. in July, according to NPD Group, were as follows. NPD did not provide sales figures for those ranked below fifth place.

1) NCAA Football 11, Xbox 360, 368,000 units

2) NCAA Football 11, PlayStation 3, 298,800 units

3) Crackdown 2, Xbox 360, 208,000 units

4) Super Mario Galaxy 2, Wii, 193,000 units

5) Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Nintendo DS, 141,700 units

6) Red Dead Redemption, Xbox 360

7) Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Wii

8) Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, Nintendo DS

9) New Super Mario Bros, Wii

10) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Xbox 360

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Martyn Williams

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