(Video game sales article updated with stock prices added.)

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Video game sales fell 7.6% in November, despite the highly hyped launch of

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

.

Hardware sales tumbled 13.4%, while software slipped 3.1%, both missing analysts forecast, according to the NPD Group.

Still, up against last year's record-setting numbers, these results aren't as bad as they seem. The video game sector still could reach $20 billion for the year, NPD said.

While this would mean December would have to be up 11% over last year, NPD analyst Anita Frazier is optimistic. "More positive economic news, combined with 'frugal fatigue' could positively impact industry sales during the last week of the holiday season," she said in a statement.

Breaking even, however, is less likely. In order to do so, December would have to be up 36% from December 2008.

Nintendo's

Wii remains the best-selling console of the month, followed by the hand-held Nintendo DS,

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Report

Xbox 360 and

Sony's

TST Recommends

(SNE) - Get Report

PlayStation3.

The three companies have been slashing prices and lowering inventory in response to the economic downturn.

While

Call of Duty

, this year's top-selling item, beat last year's big winner by 283%, it couldn't make up for softness in other areas, NPD said. The top 50 games this year sold 5% fewer units than the top 50 from last year.

Shares of video game retailer

GameStop

(GME) - Get Report

are up 2.9% to $21.77, while Sony is growing 1.6% to $28.80.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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