Xbox 360 Rocking and Rolling with January Sales

Although gaming sales in general have hit the skids, the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox 360 is still winning big. January was the 13th consecutive month that the Xbox 360 was the top-selling gaming console in the U.S., CNET reported Friday, citing the NPD Group. According to the report, the Xbox topped the list of best-selling consoles for all of 2011.

Microsoft sold 270,000 Xbox 360s in January to snag 49 percent of the console market for the month — the 11th straight month the Xbox had a share of more than 40 percent. Total sales of the Xbox in January — including hardware, software and accessories — was $310 million, beating all other consoles in the U.S, CNET reported.

Additionally, five of the ten best-selling games in the U.S. in January — Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (NASDAQ:ATVI), Battlefield 3 (NASDAQ:EA), NBA 2K12 (NASDAQ:TTWO), and Just Dance 3 — were for Xbox.

According to the report, NPD said demand for a certain type of console normally wanes after a few years, but Xbox 360 is the exception to the rule. “Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the lifecycle of the console by re-imagining entertainment and delivering new technologies like Kinect for Xbox 360, a new Xbox dashboard, and new entertainment content partners in 2011,” NPD stated in its January report.

More games for Xbox will be coming out this year, including new additions to the Halo and Fable series, and the eagerly-awaited Kinect Star Wars, which is set to launch on April 3. Also, a new Xbox console, known at this point as the Xbox 720, is expected to be released before the end of next year.

Unfortunately, the rest of the gaming industry has not been so lucky of late. Total gaming sales plunged 34 percent in January, to $750.6 million from $1.14 billion. Hardware sales tumbled by 38 percent to $199.5 million, while total software sales fell 37 percent to $379.6 million from a year ago, CNET said. The slump is due to factors including poor hardware and accessory performance and a decline in software releases, according to NPD analyst Liam Callahan.