Xbox 360 Still Most Popular Gaming Console

A woman plays with an Xbox 360 game console. (credit: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman plays with an Xbox 360 game console. (credit: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) – Microsoft has extended its streak of console sales leadership into its third year.

Research firm NPD released its game-market sales for January on Thursday. Microsoft led U.S. console sales for the 25th consecutive month, tallying 281,000 units sold. At that sales level, Microsoft was able to grab 44 percent console market share. All told, consumers spent $338 million on Xbox 360 hardware, software and accessories during the period.

Despite the Xbox 360’s success, overall hardware sales were down 17 percent compared to January 2011, reaching $205 million during the period. Compared to January 2012, those figures appear to be up year-over-year.

It is not clear by how much Microsoft was able to top its competitors in the console market. Both Sony and Nintendo have so far remained tight-lipped on actual unit sales during January, and NPD does not publicly release hardware unit sales.

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