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Xbox 360 continues its console dominance through January 2013

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For the 18th consecutive month, Microsoft's Xbox 360 led hardware sales in the United States, according to research firm NPD's latest analysis of game sales. David Dennis, a Microsoft spokesman, revealed a total of 281,000 Xbox 360 units were sold for the month of January 2013. It also happens to be the 25th consecutive month the 360 has led console hardware sales. It certainly is an impressive streak for Microsoft, but expect the competition to heat up as we enter the next-gen phase. 

The latest sales report definitely indicate we're ready. Overall retail video game sales -- including hardware, software, and accessories -- were up 9% thanks to a "Leap Weak" which allowed for a five week sales period rather than the traditional four weeks. With a normalized four-week comparison, industry sales would've been down 13%. These sales figures represent new physical retail sales of hardware, software and accessories, which account for roughly 50 percent of the total consumer spend on games, NPD noted.

"When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in January such as used and rentals at $141 million, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including microtransactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and the consumer spend on social network games at $382 million, we would estimate the total consumer spend in January to be over $1.3 billion," the company explained.

On the whole, normalized sales of hardware were down 17%. The actual difference in console sales between Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo remain a mystery as the NPD does not publicly release exact hardware unit sales. Sony and Nintendo have also been tight-lipped on revealing January's sales numbers.

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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