September 2011 saw a six percent decrease in physical sales compared to the same period one year ago, according to the NPD's monthly sales track report, making it the fourth month in the row to post a decrease.
Total hardware, software, and accessory sales at retail stores reached $1.16 billion, compared to September 2010's $1.23 billion a year ago.
Similarly underwhelming results in individual hardware and sales divisions contributed to a lacklustre month, although a plumper release schedule saw an improvement over August's dire result.
With ten, 26 and 23 percent year-on-year drops in June, July and August respectively, September marked a stronger return to form for the US market. Poor performance throughout the year has been attributed to NPD's failure to combine its physical and digital sales tracking.
Hardware down nine percent, Xbox 360 tops 438k
Although hardware sales were up from August's figures, year-on-year comparisons show another nine percent drop to $349.0 million.
Microsoft came out the clear winner, issuing a press release to mark the console's seventh consecutive month at top spot on the hardware charts.
A strong month for the Xbox 360 was helped along by having six entries in the software charts. Monthly spend on the console topped $534 million, "more than total retail spend from the current-generation console competition combined".
Although Sony didn't release any concrete sales figures, it did boast "double-digit growth", with PlayStation 3 software up 23 percent and hardware spiking with a 20 percent increase.
Nintendo seems to have fallen into third place but did announce a significant milestone, with the DS family shifting 145,000 units to cross the 50 million threshold during September.
The Wii stayed relevant with 240,000 sales, topped by the 3DS at 260,000 3DS consoles - a healthy increase of ten percent on last month and likely the ongoing result of the mid-August price cut.
In total, Nintendo sold over 647,000 hardware units in September.
Software sales were the only division to report a positive year-on-year change, up three percent on 2010 to $630.2 million - a significant jump on August's dire $264.8 million.
The delay of Madden NFL 12, which was blamed for last months disappointing performance, gave September a boost and topped the software charts.
Xbox 360 exclusive Gears of war 3 came in at second place, beating out Dead Island, the surprise multi-platform hit from Deep Silver.
Deus Ex: Human revolution remained a strong presence as did the eternal Call of Duty: Black Ops, with FIFA 12, NHL 12 and Resistance 3 showing up surprisingly low on the charts.
Nintendo reported that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time managed to pass 500,000 units sold, the first 3DS title to do so.
The Big N also boasted of 273 million games sold for the DS family life-to-date, a staggering 107,000 average sales per day in its seven year lifespan.
- NPD Software Top 10
- Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP)
- Gears of War 3 (360)
- Dead Island (360, PS3, PC)
- FIFA Soccer 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, 3DS)
- NHL 12 (360, PS3)
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution (360, PS3, PC)
- Resistance 3 (PS3)
- Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, NDS, 360, 3DS, PS3, PSP, PC)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC)
- Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (360, PS3, PC)