April NPD: Mario Kart Wii takes a back seat to GTA IV

Duh. Going through the releases on April’s NPD data from the “big three,” two of them are touting Grand Theft Auto IV sales records, while the other is saying that they sold the most systems. Again.

The software sales numbers are very impressive, especially seeing as how GTA IV was only on the market for a few days in April. The first and third sales positions are taken by the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions respectively. Combined, they sold 1.85 million copies in April. Sony brags that “with 23.6% of U.S. PS3 owners purchasing a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV” they have a “29.0% higher attach rate for the title than Xbox 360.” Of course, Microsoft’s release reminds us that they “secured the #1 spot” for the month.

Other notables in the software category include Mario Kart Wii, which debuted at #2 with sales of over 1 million units. Sony’s Gran Turismo 5 Prologue also races into the top 10, with a rank of #6 and sales of 224,000 units.

As far as consoles go, Xbox 360 and PS3 were just about tied, 188K vs 187K. Neither seemed to sell more systems as a result of GTA IV’s release. Sony does point to a “year-over-year sales growth of over 127%,” while Microsoft is even more proud that they’ve broken the 10 million consoles sold mark. Of course, Nintendo laughs all the way to the bank with more than 714,000 units in April alone for the Wii, and 414,000 more for the DS. The PSP continues to do very well, outselling both the Xbox 360 and PS3 again, this month with almost 193,000 units sold. Oh, and Sony made $10 million alone on their new vibrating controller!

Prediction time:

Last month I nailed it, except for my expectation that GTA IV would sell hardware for Microsoft. I said that  Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and Mario Kart Wii would sell well, and that Nintendo would not lose their hardware lead, even to GTA IV. I expect that May will look similar, this time giving Wii Fit the credit for Nintendo’s top spot. As for the other two, I expect that this neck-and-neck race will end with the PS3 coming out on top for May. I suspect that GTA IV will continue to sell well for both systems, but Sony may get an extra push from SingStar and Haze. It won’t be until June that they really push ahead, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Who are you giving May to? Massive copypasta helping with extra sauce after the jump.

Nintendo’s Wii Sits Atop April U.S. Sales

Wii™ emerged as the top-selling console in April, according to the
independent NPD Group, which tracks U.S. video game sales. Wii sold
more than 714,000 units in April alone, bringing its lifetime sales in
the United States to more than 9.5 million.

“Wii sales were buoyed in part by the strong launch of Mario Kart Wii,
which sold more than 1.1 million units,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo
of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “Our
belief in appealing to a broad, diverse audience of players continues
to resonate with consumers, and we look forward to continuing our
outreach to an expanded audience with the launch of Wii Fit next

Other Nintendo highlights from April’s NPD report include:

Mario Kart(R) Wii finished as the No. 2 game of the month.
Six of the top 10 games of the month are for Nintendo systems: Mario
Kart Wii (No. 2), Wii Play™ (No. 4), Super Smash Bros.(R) Brawl (No.
5), Pokémon(R) Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness (No. 7),
Pokémon(R) Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time (No. 8) and Guitar Hero
III: Legends of Rock (No. 9).
Super Smash Bros. Brawl crossed the 3 million sales mark in the United States.
Wii and Nintendo DS™ again finished as the two top-selling hardware systems.

PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) continued its benchmark year with 187,071 hardware units sold in April (according to NPD April 2008 sales data). This represents a year-over-year sales growth of over 127%. More than 2 million software units were sold for PS3 in April, representing a year-over-year growth of 410%.

    * Spurred by the tremendous legacy of the Grand Theft Auto franchise on PlayStation, over 1 million copies of Grand Theft Auto IV for PS3 were sold in April in North America, with 23.6% of U.S. PS3 owners purchasing a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV, a 29.0% higher attach rate for the title than Xbox 360.  Enthusiasm for Grand Theft Auto IV combined with the launches of Haze and SingStar for PS3, is expected to continue to lift PS3 hardware sales through May.
    * Grand Theft Auto IV and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue mark the beginning of a monster 2008 software line-up for PS3, including the highly-anticipated exclusive titles Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, SOCOM: US Navy SEALs Confrontation, Resistance 2, and LittleBigPlanet to name a few. These blockbusters promise to further drive PS3 sales through to the holiday season.
    * Fueled by the launch of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue on the PLAYSTATION®Network, approximately 6 million pieces of content have been downloaded from the PlayStation®Store in North America since this time last month, with more than 73 million pieces of content downloaded from PLAYSTATION Store in North America to date. There are currently over 3.9 million registered PLAYSTATION Network accounts in North America.
    * The recently introduced DUALSHOCK®3 wireless controller for PS3 also proved to be a hot-seller, with sales exceeding $10.9 million in April.


PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) continued to boast strong sales in April with 192,696 PSP hardware units sold, representing a sales increase of 5.4% year-over-year. Fueled by enthusiasm for the exclusive blockbusters God of War: Chains of Olympus and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, the top two selling titles the platform of the month, more than 1 million software units were sold for PSP in April.

PlayStation®2 (PS2) also had another strong month in April with hardware unit sales reaching 124,376 units. More than 42 million PS2s have been sold to date in the U.S.
Power of the PlayStation Portfolio

The PlayStation brand continued to generate impressive sales, earning $387 million in April.

·          Year to date (Jan-April), the PlayStation brand generated over $1.9 billion in revenue, representing an increase of 17.6% year-over year.

·          PlayStation total hardware revenue was $126.2 million in April, representing a year-over-year growth of over 19.4%.

·          PlayStation total software revenue in April was $215.1 million, representing a year-over-year growth of 68.6%.

CEO Perspective


“Clearly, the tremendous legacy of Grand Theft Auto on PlayStation, combined with the blockbuster launch of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue packed a one-two punch with consumers at retail this month. The proof is in the numbers and, in April, PlayStation 3 hardware sales experienced a 127% increase over April of last year. PS3 momentum is fueled by enthusiasm for Blu-ray as the definitive high def standard and the growing number of consumers gearing up for some of the most anticipated titles of the year, exclusively for PS3, including the June release of Metal Gear Solid 4, and other great exclusives in the second half on the year, such as Resistance 2, SOCOM: Confrontation and LittleBigPlanet to name a few. With exciting PlayStation Network innovations and our strongest console-driving titles of the year still on the horizon, PS3 remains on pace for a breakthrough year.”


 – Jack Tretton, president and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment America


 Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has sold 10.1 million units in the U.S., making
it the first current generation gaming console to break the 10 million
barrier in the U.S., and contributing to global sales of over 19
million. (April NPD data)

By the numbers: Xbox 360 is the most significant contributor to
industry spending and growth

·         188,000 Xbox 360 consoles were sold in April. (April NPD data)

·         Xbox 360 has a record-setting attach rate of 7.6 games per
console, the highest attach rate in history for a console at this
point in its lifecycle. (April NPD data)

·         Consumers have spent more than $9.7 billion on the Xbox 360
experience. (April NPD data)

·         Xbox 360 titles accounted for $186 million of all third
party game sales this generation, or 53% of share. (April NPD data)

·         Xbox 360 games accounted for three of the top ten games in
April, and secured the #1 spot with “Grand Theft Auto IV.” (April NPD

·         Not only are we selling more games, games play better on the
Xbox 360. Xbox 360 has 91 titles with a Metacritic review score of 80
or higher, compared to just 50 for PS3 and 22 for Wii.

 “Grand Theft Auto IV” on Xbox 360 snags top spot in April, boosts
LIVE memberships to over 12 million

·         In its first five days on the market, the Xbox 360 version
of “Grand Theft Auto IV” sold 1.8 million units, outselling the other
platform’s version by nearly 2:1 in the U.S., and making it the top
selling game in April. (April NPD data)

·         Gamers eager to experience “Grand Theft Auto IV” online
helped boost Xbox LIVE global membership totals to over 12 million
this month. Fueled by an unparalleled combination of access to friends
and family, the best online gaming features and the best entertainment
content, the Xbox LIVE service has doubled in membership in only one
year’s time.

·         Microsoft sales data shows Xbox 360 consoles saw a 54% lift
week-over-week as a result of “Grand Theft Auto IV,” and retailers are
reporting that roughly four out of every 10 Xbox 360 consoles sold
included the sale of a copy of “Grand Theft Auto IV.” (Microsoft
internal data)

·         Beginning this fall, Xbox LIVE will be the only place gamers
can go for exclusive “Grand Theft Auto IV” episodes.

“Grand Theft Auto IV” marked the beginning of what promises to be
another landmark year for the Xbox 360 platform, with an all-star
games line up in 2008 including “Gears of War 2,” “Fable 2” and “Viva
Piñata: Trouble in Paradise.”  Stay tuned for more announcements in
the coming months.

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Dale North
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