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Xbox 360 continues to heat up gaming sales

Microsoft's game console is again the top-selling console in the U.S. as the overall industry suffers another drop in sales from a year ago.

The Xbox 360 is still the top selling console.
The Xbox 360 is still the top selling console.

The Xbox 360 continues to be a bright spot in a sluggish gaming market.

Grabbing more than 42 percent of all console sales, the popular platform scored 426,000 in unit sales last month, according to Microsoft.

Xbox aficionados shelled out a total of $383 million in February on hardware, software, and accessories--the most amount spent for any gaming console.

For the month, 5 of the top 10 games in the U.S. were aimed at the Xbox, including Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, UFC Undisputed, NBA 2K12, and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Nintendo saw 625,000 in total hardware unit sales in February, with 228,000 for the Wii, 262,000 for the 3DS, and 135,000 for the DS. The company recently revealed that it's sold 4.5 million 3DS units in the U.S. since the portable console debuted a year ago, bringing in more than $1.2 billion in sales.

But the industry in general continues to find itself in a slump compared with last year.

Total gaming sales were $1.06 billion last month, a 20 percent drop from a year ago, according to NPD Group.

Hardware sales fell by 18 percent and software sales by 23 percent. But new titles helped stem some of the losses.

"New releases this month contributed 22 percent more unit sales than new launches in February 2011, fueled by new launch increases from the PS3 and 360 platforms with support from new games from devices not present last February: 3DS and PS Vita," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement.

Spending on used games and online content also triggered some sales for the industry.

"Outside of new physical retail sales, we estimate that the consumer spend on other methods to acquire content including used games, full game and add-on content downloads, social network games, mobile games, rentals and subscriptions accounted for an additional $550 (million)-$600 million in sales," Frazier noted, "which would bring total content spend across both retail and these other spend methods to $1.0 billion-$1.1 billion for February."