As video games, video game software and accessories plunged in the U.S. in January, research firm NPD Group delivered some other news that the gaming industry might consider more positive.

According to a forthcoming report, NPD says there is a higher percentage of gamers ages 13-34 in the three countries of the U.K., Germany and France than in the U.S. Highlights of the report were released at the D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit event in Las Vegas.

NPD also reported that European and U.S. markets offer potential to video game developers to sell titles across multiple platforms. No one device or platform is dominant, NPD says. 

“Looking across the four countries, the UK stands out as having the highest incidence of both physical and digital purchase incidence. Germany has a nearly equal number of consumers purchasing games in the physical and digital formats, while the French are predominantly physical format purchasers,” NPD reports.

“Interestingly, when looking at device usage across geographies, each of the four countries has a device it can claim as having the #1 usage incidence: Germany has the highest usage of computers for gaming compared to the other three geographies; the UK has the highest usage of consoles; in the United States, app devices [such as the iPad] have become increasingly popular and exceed all other geographies in usage; in France traditional portable video game systems have the highest usage compared to the US, France, and Germany. In the United States, portable hardware usage is now much smaller than app device usage, with close to half of portable users also playing games on app devices. In the European markets, app device gaming is currently at the same level as portable gaming.”

“Digital distribution provides the games industry with an opportunity to reach consumers on a global basis faster than ever before,” NPD adds.

Read more details  from NPD here.

U.S. Sales Plummet in January

The news from NPD about video game industry sales in the U.S. in January was grim.

Retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories fell 34 percent in January from a year earlier to $751 million due to the lack of new game titles.

NPD analyst Liam Callahan said the dearth of new games likely resulted in fewer people going to stores and buying other recent releases on impulse.

“Shoppers were not drawn to stores due to new launch activity,” he said.

Callahan said sales of titles released before the holidays were down 31 percent in January compared to a year ago.

Sales of console and portable software — the video games themselves — fell 38 percent to $356 million.

That’s a bigger decline than the 12 percent drop forecast by Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter.

Activision’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” was the top seller for the third-consecutive month following its early November release.

Hardware sales fell 38 percent to $200 million, while accessories sales were down 18 percent at $195 million. Sales were down because of the success of Microsoft’s Kinect motion controller a year ago.

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