October was another disappointing month for the video game industry, though help is on the way.

Industry watcher NPD Group reported metrics for October, with industry sales slipping 4% to $1.03 billion. Hardware sales fell a problematic 26%, raining on a modest 6% uptick in software and a more robust 18% spike in accessories.

This may be the first time in five months that game titles inch higher, but keep in mind that this is a year-over-year gauge. Software gains don't look so hot when you recall that overall industry sales plunged a steep 19% last October. In other words, sector sales are 22% below where they were two years ago.

It's clearly telling that the best-selling title for the month was Take-Two Interactive's (Nasdaq: TTWO) NBA 2k11. Remember all of the hype around Electronic Arts' (Nasdaq: ERTS) Medal of Honor? It had to settle for bronze.

November should provide a welcome break for an industry that has been slipping and sliding since early last year.

Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Kinect hit the market earlier this month, and the $150 Xbox 360 add-on sold a million units in its first 10 days on the market. A week after Kinect's debut, Activision Blizzard's (Nasdaq: ATVI) record-setting release of Call of Duty: Black Ops moved $360 million on its first day.

Tack on the Kinect-related games and consumers who may have been waiting for the latest Call of Duty installment to upgrade their consoles and it's highly likely that NPD's mid-December report for the month of November is going to be a blowout.

We'll get an early glimpse when leading specialty retailer GameStop (NYSE: GME) reports. Since retail markups are more generous on the software side than on the hardware end, even October was probably a positive one for the game sellers. If November's early success bleeds into December, this could be the blockbuster holiday quarter that investors have been waiting on for nearly two years.

A lot can change between now and then, but at least the gaming industry is finally moving in the right direction where -- and when -- it matters the most.

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