Microsoft said its Xbox 360 outsold competing game consoles in the US for the seventh straight month in July.

 

The company said it sold 277,000 units during the month, giving it a 45% share for the current generation of game boxes, which include Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii.

Microsoft quoted the sales numbers from data vendor NPD.

The Xbox 360 has been lifted by the success of its Kinect platform, a motion-sensing device that lets users control games with physical movements.

The company has increasingly targeted casual gamers along with its traditional hard-core gaming customers.

The NPD numbers painted a gloomy picture for the US game market in July. Total combined sales for hardware and video games were down 26 percent from a year earlier, with consoles falling 29 percent.  The data tracks sales at physical stores, but doesn't include items like digital distribution or mobile phone games.

Nintendo has had a tough time with the launch of its handhold 3DS console. Earlier this month it slashed the 3DS price worldwide, less than six months after it was launched, and reported a sharp drop in sales.

Sony is prepping for the launch of its powerful new Vita handheld, which is to go on sale this year in Japan and next year in the US and Europe.