May NPD: PS3 outsells Xbox 360, GTA IV sells like crazy

It’s that time of month again where I plow through the NPD numbers and subsequent “big three” responses and try to make sense of it all. This month we see the same spin recipe we’ve seen for the past half year now, but it all seems fairly defensive now  (except for Nintendo). The spin now feels a lot like it did in the 2007 holiday season. 

Of course, now, just like then, Nintendo is king. Exactly as I predicted last month, Wii Fit sales were a major contributor to Nintendo’s reign. This title finished No. 3 for the month of May, following No. 2 Mario Kart Wii. Analyst Jesse Divnich tells us that Wii Fit may have sold even more if there weren’t supply problems. In the bullet points Nintendo sent us, they brag that lifetime sales of Wii now stand at nearly 10.2 million. That’s almost Xbox 360 territory! And, of course, the Wii and DS take the top two sales spots, with 675,089 and 452,608, respectively.

The other thing I was right about last month is that the PS3 would overtake the Xbox 360 in sales. It happened, with Sony’s 208,709 units, which is over 22,000 more than Microsoft sold. It looks like Grand Theft Auto IV didn’t help the Xbox 360 out as much as they thought it would, despite taking top sofware sales with 1.3 million. Sony says that 32 percent of PS3 owners picked up GTA IV, a 6 percent higher attach rate than Xbox 360. Last month I said that SingStar and Haze, alongside GTA IV, would help Sony’s sales numbers. In their release sent to us, they say almost exactly the same thing.

Microsoft continues to remind us that they own the majority of the top ranked Metacritic titles, and that they now have a 7.7 attach rate. In other words, they kick ass in software. They don’t have much else to boast about this month, but do remind us to be prepared for E3, as they “still have quite a few aces” up their sleeves.

Predictions for June:
I may not be a real games industry analyst like Michael Pachter or Jesse Divnich, but the robot in the sky does pay me to report these numbers, and I can guess with the best of them. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Metal Gear Solid 4 will perform very well for Sony as their first big exclusive. They will show good numbers in both software and hardware, due to the new MGS 4 PS3 bundle. At the same time, I will mark this month as the beginning of the PSP’s slow death. I think the Wii Fit supply situation will still be tight, but the game will continue to perform well for Nintendo. And, as any “analyst” worth a crap would predict, Nintendo will continue to dominate the top two spots in hardware, with the Wii finally passing the Xbox 360’s total lifetime sales.

Mad copy-paste action after the jump.

PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) continued its break-out year, selling 208,709 hardware units in May.  22,106 more units than Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (according to NPD May 2008 sales data).

Spurred by enthusiasm for Grand Theft Auto IV and the exclusive releases of SingStar for PS3 and Haze, 1.26 million software units were sold for PS3 in May, representing an increase of 234 percent from this time last year.

    * 442,910 of copies of Grand Theft Auto IV were sold for PS3 in May, with more than 1.4 million of copies of the game sold for PS3 in the U.S. to date. More than 32 percent of U.S. PS3 owners have purchased a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV, a 6 percent higher attach rate than Xbox 360.
    * PS3 hardware sales momentum is expected to continue in June, spurred by the highly anticipated launch of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, exclusively for PS3, as well as the introduction of the special edition Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots PS3 bundle.
    * Popularity of the PLAYSTATION®Network continues to rise, with more than 20 million pieces of

content downloaded from the PlayStation®Store in May (11.6 million for North America), including the monster hit echochrome. There are currently more than 9 million registered PLAYSTATION Network accounts worldwide (nearly 4.2 million in North America) with more than 160 million pieces of content downloaded from the PlayStation®Store to date.

PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) continued to boast solid sales in May with 182,310 PSP hardware units sold. In June, SCEA launched an exclusive God of War: Chains of Olympus PSP bundle including the Superbad UMD and a PSN voucher to download Syphon Filter: Combat Ops, which will further increase sales of the handheld.
PlayStation®2 (PS2) also had another strong month in May with hardware unit sales reaching 132,708 units, up 6.7 percent over the previous month. More than 42.2 million PS2s have been sold to date.
Power of the PlayStation Portfolio

The PlayStation brand continued to generate impressive sales, earning $331.6 million in May.

    * Year-to-date (Jan-May), the PlayStation brand generated close to $2.27 billion in revenue, 46 percent higher than Microsoft, and representing an increase of more than 17 percent year-over-year.
    * PlayStation total hardware revenue was $133 million in May, 98 percent higher than Microsoft, and representing a year-over-year growth of over 20.4 percent.
    * PlayStation total software revenue in May was $159 million, representing a year-over-year growth of 19.2 percent.

“Leading into a pivotal season packed with blockbuster titles and unique online service offerings, consumers have chosen the PS3 as their home entertainment console of choice – showcased by its year-over-year sales growth of 155 percent. With its commanding line up of software titles and enhanced movie playback capabilities, the PS3 has seen phenomenal momentum with a software sales increase of more than 234 percent and additional studio support of delivering content in the Blu-ray format. The dual platform release of the much anticipated Grand Theft Auto IV title reaffirmed its legacy on the PlayStation platform with a 6 percent higher attach rate than Xbox 360, reinforcing consumer choice of PS3. Poised for continued momentum, PS3 is delivering on its breadth and depth of exclusive titles to its gaming fans with today’s prized exclusive title launch of Metal Gear Solid 4. The media have hailed 2008 as the year of the PS3, and with solid sales and growth opportunities ahead, we feel consumers are saying the same.”NPD Figures Show Strong Consumer Response to Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit

Two Nintendo video games designed to appeal to both novice and expert gamers posted healthy numbers in the May sales charts, according to the independent NPD Group, which tracks sales of video game products in the United States. Mario Kart® Wii and Wii Fit™ finished No. 2 and No. 3 for the month, demonstrating continued consumer response to new controls and experiences.

“The Wii Wheel and Wii Balance Board accessories make game play fun for new gamers while presenting new challenges for those who have been playing a long time,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “The diversity of the seven Nintendo games represented in NPD’s top 10 for May demonstrates how Nintendo has something for everyone.”

Other highlights from NPD’s May U.S. sales report include:

    * Wii™ (675,089 sold) and Nintendo DS™ (452,608 sold) again emerged as the two top-selling video game systems.
    * Wii represented 63 percent of all current-generation consoles sold in May, while Nintendo DS had a 71 percent share of the portable market.
    * Lifetime sales of Wii now stand at nearly 10.2 million.
    * Lifetime sales of Nintendo DS are now at more than 20 million.
    * Wii Play™ sold more than 295,000 in May, bringing its lifetime sales to more than 5.8 million.
    * Of the top 30 best-selling games of May, 19 are made for Nintendo systems, including third-party hits like Guitar Hero™ III: Legends of Rock from Activision, We Ski™ from Namco Bandai, Game Party™ from Midway and Boom Blox™ from Electronic Arts.
    * Pokémon® Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Pokémon® Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness combined to sell more than 208,000 in May, with lifetime sales of more than 613,000.

Dale North