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Game industry sees hardware sales plummet 42 percent

Consumers spent just $109.5 million on game hardware in April, down from the $187.8 million they spent during the same period in 2012.

Microsoft's Xbox 360
Microsoft's Xbox 360 Sarah Tew/CNET

The latest data out on the gaming industry indicates one, simple message: times are tough.

Overall spending on game industry products in the U.S. in April hit $495.2 million, down 25 percent compared to the $657.5 million consumers spent during the same period in 2012, according to monthly sales data on the game industry from research firm NPD. Hardware sales were hit hardest with just $109.5 million spent on consoles and handhelds last month. That figure is down 42 percent compared to the same period in April 2012.

Once again, the Xbox 360 led the market in console sales but could only muster 130,000 units sold in April. Total spending on the Xbox 360, including hardware, software, and accessories, reached $208 million. This represents nearly 50 percent of all consumer spending on game industry products during this period.

Neither Sony nor Nintendo revealed their console unit sales figures, but judging by Microsoft's announcement, they weren't all that strong.

Nintendo did, however, gloat a bit on Thursday, saying in a statement that first-party sales for its 3DS portable are up 52 percent this year compared to last. The company has sold 2.1 million first-party 3DS software titles in the U.S. since the beginning of the year. In 2012, it took the 3DS 30 weeks to reach that mark.