Some good news for the video game industry ahead of launches this fall for new gaming platforms:

Overall U.S. sales of video-game products rose 1 percent last month to $521 million, the first four-week gain in almost two years, driven by new titles including Walt Disney Co.’s “Infinity,” featuring collectible characters.

Sales of video-game software increased 23 percent to $293.4 million from a year earlier, NPD Group Inc. reported Thursday. The advance, the first since November 2011, was enough to counter a 40 percent drop in hardware sales to $90.8 million as gamers hold out for new-generation consoles later this year.

Electronic Arts’ “Madden NFL 25,” “Saints Row IV,” the title created by THQ Inc., and “Disney Infinity” were the top three games in August, the researcher said.

The top 10 game sellers in August, as reported by NPD and noted at Gamespot were:

Title (Platforms) – Publisher

1. Madden NFL 25 – (X360, PS3) – Electronic Arts
2. Saints Row IV – (X360, PS3, PC) – Deep Silver
3. Disney Infinity – (X360, Wii, PS3, Wii U, 3DS ) – Disney Interactive
4. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist – (X360, PS3, Wii U, PC) – Ubisoft
5. Minecraft – (X360) – Microsoft
6. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team – (3DS) – Nintendo
7. NCAA Football 14 – (X360, PS3) – Electronic Arts
8. PayDay 2 – (X360, PS3) – 505 Games
9. Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn – (PS3, PC) – Square Enix
10. Pikmin 3 – (Wii U) – Nintendo

The games and consoles industry has been slumping as consumers have shifted to Web-delivered titles played on smartphones and tablets. With Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One released in November, their first upgrades in more than six years, both companies are betting the faster machines will entice enthusiasts and casual gamers.

The units go on sale in the U.S. within a week of each other, the $399 PS4 on Nov. 15 and the $499 Xbox One on Nov. 22. Retailers have already begun taking orders for the new machines and GameStop Corp., the largest retailer in the market, in August raised its profit forecast, citing strength in console orders.

The monthly gain in total sales was the first since October 2011, excluding January, which carried an extra reporting week compared with January 2012, NPD said. 

Disney sold an estimated $30 million of its “Infinity” game system products in the two weeks after its Aug. 18 debut, Michael J. Olson, a Piper Jaffray & Co. analyst, said in a research note on Sept. 9. Shoppers bought 400,000 units, he said.

Nintendo, based in Kyoto, Japan, led video-game hardware sales in August with its 3DS handheld console for the fourth consecutive month, NPD said. The company cut the Wii U price by $50 to $299 ahead of the new units from Microsoft and Sony. The console, introduced last year, has missed company sales targets.

Sales of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console fell 50 percent to 96,000 units. The company retained its No. 1 spot in console sales for the 32nd month, the Redmond, Washington-based company said in a separate e-mail.