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Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was once again the best-selling game console in the U.S. in August, according to NPD Group data cited by the company. That makes 14 out of 15 months that the Redmond company’s game console has topped Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii in unit sales in the country.

And this month promises to be big for the Xbox 360, as well, with the launch of the exclusive “Gears of War 3” slated for Sept. 20. The game had already attracted 1.3 million pre-orders as of the end of last month. While many of those come from people who already own the Xbox 360, the release of blockbuster games typically drives additional sales of console hardware, too.

Meanwhile, Nintendo reports a big increase in unit sales of its 3DS handheld game machine after dropping the price from $250 to $170. The company sold 235,000 3DS units in the U.S. in August and 190,000 Wiis. (Microsoft sold 308,000 Xbox 360s by comparison.)

Sony didn’t release specific numbers for the PlayStation 3 in the U.S. but said it saw “very strong sales” following a $50 price cut in the console.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier said overall industry sales were down in August, compared to the same month last year. The decline in game software  sales was blamed in large part on the fact that the latest Madden football game wasn’t released in time to make it into NPD’s August 2011 stats, but was included in the August 2010 stats.

Here are the top 10 games for the month, via the NPD data.

  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution (360, PS3, PC)**
  • NCAA Football 12 (360, PS3)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC)**
  • Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd (NDS, Wii, PS3)
  • Cars 2 (NDS, Wii, 360, PS3, PC)
  • Just Dance Summer Party (Wii)
  • Just Dance 2 (Wii)
  • Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Wii, 360, NDS, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC)
  • The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
  • Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Wii, 360, PS3)
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