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Video Game Sales Drop 5% in January

The industry opened 2011 with a monthly sales drops after two consecutive years of full-year declines.

NEW YORK -- Video game sales opened 2011 with a 5 percent decline for January, compared to the same period a year earlier, according to latest data from research firm NPD Group. 

The company said late Thursday that January new physical channel sales of gaming software titles declined 5 percent to $576 million. Adding in PC games, sales dropped 6 percent to $603 million.

Combining all software, hardware and accessories, industry sales amounted to $1.16 billion for the first month of the year, down 5 percent from the year-ago period. 

The three top-selling games in January were Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: Black Ops, Ubisoft's Just Dance 2 and Dead Space 2 from Electronic Arts. Beyond Just Dance 2, two other dance titles made the top 10 list: Dance Central and Michael Jackson The Experience, which took spots eight and nine, respectively.

"The data is good enough, but still bad," said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, pointing out that Nintendo's Wii has remained particularly weak. "The industry looks like it is just starting to run," he added, predicting "probably another two months of negative data" before growth resumes.

The video game industry has slumped for two years in a row.