Epic Games gave the videogame industry quite a boost in September with “Gears of War 3,” but its strong sales weren’t enough to hold off an industry-wide swoon.

Released on Sept. 20, Gears sold more than 3.7 million copies, according to the website VGChartz. Gears sold more than 1 million copies through pre-sale reservations, and VGChartz has predicted that “3” will surpass its two predecessors with 8 million copies in sales.

NPD Group credited Gears with more than 2 million in sales, listing it as No. 2 for September in units sold with Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL 12 listed as No. 1.

However, Cary-based Epic was one of the few bright spots for the gaming sector, according to new data from NPD Group.

Industry sales in the U.S. declined 4 percent to $1.13 billion in September from a year earlier, led by declines in sales of game accessories and consoles.

Sales of new titles fell 3 percent to $630.2 million, NPD Group said.

Console sales fell 9 percent to $349 million from $382.9 million a year earlier, NPD said.

The industry has suffered a prolonged sales slump this year amid a relatively weak slate of titles. The biggest releases, including Redwood City, California-based Electronic Arts’ “Battlefield 3” and Activision Blizzard Inc.’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” are due through December and could turn 2011 sales into positive territory, NPD has said. The research did not provide analysis of September sales.

Nintendo Co. in late July cut the price to $170 from $250 for its portable 3DS gaming system, which allows for 3-D viewing without the need for special glasses. The Kyoto, Japan-based company also lowered its profit forecast.

Nintendo sold 260,000 3DS systems, an increase of more than 10 percent over the prior month, the company said in a statement. Its home console, the Wii, sold 240,000 units down from 254,000 a year earlier.

Microsoft Corp., based in Redmond, Washington, sold 438,000 Xbox 360 game consoles, the top-selling video-game player in September, it said. The company a year ago sold 483.9 million game consoles.

U.S. sales of Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 jumped 20 percent in September, as the video-game industry moved into the peak holiday buying period.

Tokyo-based Sony, which cut the price of the PlayStation 3 in August to $169.99 from $249.99, said software sales rose 52 percent, spokesman Patrick Seybold, citing NPD research, said in an e-mailed statement. The Tokyo-based company did not release its monthly U.S. sales figures.

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