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NPD July: 3DS tops again, Minecraft and NCAA strong performers

Nintendo's little handheld that could remains the top-selling console as we approach the next-gen transition, with very few new releases making a splash on the software charts.

The NPD Group has released its monthly sales report on US retail. As ever, it must be noted that the figures reported therein do not include online retail; digital distribution;' social and mobile; or DLC, and as such are increasingly irrelevant as an image of the industry's health as a whole.

As a picture of what's happening at bricks-and-mortar retail, though, they're pretty good, and we once again saw a total industry spend decrease of 19% year-on-year to $443 million.

Hardware fell 34% to $99.4 million while software sales dropped 20% to $222.3 million.

The 3DS was the to-selling hardware item for the third month in a row, and noted a 14% year-on-year increase in sales for the month of July.

NPD analyst Liam Callahan said that the last time a portable console held the number one spot on the hardware charts for three months, it was the DS, from October 2010 to December 2010.

Sony and Microsoft have not issued statements regarding hardware sales and platform performance this month, but Larry Hryb said the Xbox 360 shifted 107,000 units in the US during July. Xbox 360 has been the top-selling platform in terms of overall spend (hardware, software, and accessories) in the US for 31 months straight.

The 3DS did well on the software side, too, with system software sales increasing 45% year-on-year, according to a statement from Nintendo. Callhan noted "strong double-digit growth in both units and dollars" for 3DS software.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf sold another 150,000 units across both physical and digital sales; its lifetime sales in the US are now over 660,000. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon did not make the combined SKU charts, but has over 820,000 lifetime sales.

The rest of the charts are pretty uninspiring; if you don't count Minecraft, then NCAA Football 14 was the best seller, but Callahan said it sold less strongly in its first month than last year.

There was some interesting movement in the charts, though. You'll notice that Far Cry 3 is back, for one, and it wasn't the only older release to climb back in. The NPD's software chart tracks combined SKUs (all platforms), but Callahan said that on a bassi of individual SKUs, several single-platform titles would have charted: Shin Megami Tensei 4 on 3DS; Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon on 3DS; and Grand Theft Auto 4: The Complete Edition on Xbox 360.

"It is unusual to see a software SKU that launched close to three years ago appear in the top 10, but clearly this is an indication that gamers who missed Grand Theft Auto 4 are catching up before Grand Theft Auto Launches 5 launches in September," Callahan said.

Here's the full top ten software chart:

  1. NCAA Football 14 (PS3, Xbox 360)
  2. Minecraft (Xbox 360)
  3. The Last of Us (PS3)
  4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)
  5. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)
  6. Far Cry 3 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
  7. Battlefield 3 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
  8. Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)
  9. NBA 2K13 (PC, PSP, PS3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360)
  10. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (3DS, PC, PS3, Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360)

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