'Halo: Reach' sells 3.3 million copies in September

Video game was the best-selling title for the month, according to NPD Group research.

Microsoft video game "Halo: Reach" sold 3.3 million copies in September, making it the bestseller for the month in data released late Thursday by research firm NPD Group.

But it wasn't enough to end a recent slew of monthly industry sales decline or reignite retail momentum ahead of the key holiday season as some analysts had hoped before the release of the latest "Halo."

September video game software sales fell 6% to $614 million and total games sales, including hardware and accessories, dropped 8% to $1.18 billion.

The current games sales decline started 18 months ago, but there have been several months in between during which software sales have shown an increase.

"I'm disappointed in the industry, but not in the 'Halo' numbers," said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter who had predicted a 2%-plus increase for the month. He cited another big decline in music game sales and weakness at Nintendo as key factors. "Maybe next year music game sales will stabilize, but for now these [factors] are enough of a drag that I expect the next three months to also decline by 5%-10%."

While he expects strong sale from another tentpole release in November, "Call of Duty: Black Ops," those may not be enough to make up for other sluggish parts of the business, Pachter predicted.

The 3.3 million unit sales of "Halo: Reach" amounted to about $216 million in sales. The game cost $60, but special editions were pricier, and fans seem to have bought slightly more of those than some analysts had expected.