ChartSpot: September 2009

Aion, Champions Online debut atop NPD's monthly PC rankings, while Kingdom Hearts 358/2, Scribblenauts, and NHL 10 and in bottom half of top 20; [UPDATE] Need for Speed Shift moves under 293K on PS3/360.

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Yesterday, the NPD Group issued its US game-industry report for September. As part of its findings, the industry-standard industry research firm released the top 10 non-PC games and unit sales for the longer-than-usual reporting period, which ran from August 30 to October 3.

Scribblenauts didn't see stratospheric sales, but touched down decently at retail.
Scribblenauts didn't see stratospheric sales, but touched down decently at retail.

NON-PC
Today, NPD released its game rankings for both the top 20 PC and non-PC games without unit-sales figures. A look at the bottom half of the latter chart reveals the fate of many high-profile debuts, which didn't make the top 10.

Despite only being on sale for five days, Square Enix's DS role-playing game Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days landed in 12th place. It was followed by another DS newcomer, Warner Bros.' word-based puzzle action game Scribblenauts, which garnered decent reviews after being the subject of much attention at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Next in line were three games that were heavily hyped by the second-biggest publisher in the world, Electronic Arts. NHL 10, the well-rated sequel to GameSpot's 2008 Sports Game of the Year, arrived in 14th, showing that Canada's pastime doesn't quite stir the same fervor in as many US citizens. Behind it were the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions Need for Speed: Shift, the lukewarmly received relaunch of the once chart-topping series. [UPDATE] NPD figures obtained by GameSpot show the game sold 148,000 units on the 360 and 145,00 units on the PS3.

Need for Speed: Shift didn't exactly peel out of the sales gate.
Need for Speed: Shift didn't exactly peel out of the sales gate.

Rounding out the top 20's lower portion was the PS3 edition of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, the 360 version of which was the month's seventh-place finisher. By contrast, in 11th place was the 360 version of returning entrant Batman: Arkham Asylum, the PS3 version of which finished in eighth place, thanks to bonus content featuring the Joker.

The last entrant on the top 20 was the PS3 edition of The Beatles: Rock Band, published by MTV games and distributed by EA. According to figures provided by NPD, the Fab Four-based rhythm game only sold 132,000 units on Sony's console, compared with 254,000 copies of the fifth-place-finishing 360 version and 208,600 copies of the Wii iteration, which came in 10th.

The Beatles: Rock Band's haul was good enough to outsell archrival Guitar Hero 5 during the month with 595,000 units to versus 499,000 units. Also interestingly, only one version of Guitar Hero 5 finished in the top 20--the ninth-place Xbox 360 edition--despite Activision bragging the game's preorders dwarfed those of its competitor.

Finally, in 19th place was the once-mighty Wii Fit, down 11 slots from August. Could the crazy be over? Not likely, because Nintendo was clearing out stock of the console during the month to make room for Wii Fit Plus, which went on sale October 4.

Aion usurped the usual PC chart order.
Aion usurped the usual PC chart order.

PC
Normally reserved for either a Sims or World of Warcraft game, the top slot on the PC chart was occupied by a usurper this month. NCsoft's massively multiplayer online role-playing game Aion was the most popular game in the US during September, pushing the Sims 3 into second place.

Below that was another newcomer, Atari and Cryptic's Champions Online. Initially conceived as the now-canceled Marvel Universe Online, the superhero-themed MMORPG adopted the classic pen-and-paper RPG's universe--with decent critical results. An Xbox 360 version is planned for sometime next year.

TOP-SELLING NON-PC GAMES - SEPTEMBER 2009
Last Month / Rank / Title / Platform / Publisher / Release Date / Units
** / 1 / Halo 3: ODST / 360 / Microsoft / Sep-09 / 1,520,000
2 / 2 / Wii Sports Resort with Wii MotionPlus / Wii / Nintendo / Jul-09 / 442,900
1 / 3 / Madden NFL 10 / 360 / Electronic Arts / Aug-09 / 289,600
** / 4 / Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story / DS / Nintendo / Sep-09 / 258,100
** / 5 / The Beatles: Rock Band* / 360 / MTV Games/Electronic Arts / Sep-09 / 254,000
3 / 6 / Madden NFL 10 / PS3 / Electronic Arts / Aug-09 / 246,500
** / 7 / Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 / 360 / Activision / Sep-09 / 236,000
5 / 8 / Batman: Arkham Asylum* / PS3 / Square Enix (Eidos) / Aug-09 / 212,500
** / 9 / Guitar Hero 5* / 360 / Activision / Sep-09 / 210,800
** / 10 / The Beatles: Rock Band* / Wii / MTV Games/Electronic Arts / Sep-09 / 208,600
4 / 11 / Batman: Arkham Asylum* / 360 / Square Enix (Eidos) / Aug-09
** / 12 / Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days / DS / Square Enix / Sep-09
** / 13 / Scribblenauts / DS / Warner Bros. / Sep-09
** / 14 / NHL 10 / 360 / Electronic Arts / Sep-09
** / 15 / Need For Speed: Shift / 360 / Electronic Arts / Sep-09
** / 16 / Need For Speed: Shift / PS3 / Electronic Arts / Sep-09
** / 17 / Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 / PS3 / Activision / Sep-09
16 / 18 / Professor Layton And The Diabolical Box / DS / Nintendo / Aug-09
8 / 19 / Wii Fit with Balance Board* / Wii / Nintendo / May-08
** / 20 / The Beatles: Rock Band* / PS3 / MTV Games / Electronic Arts / Sep-09

*=Includes Collector's, Limited, Legendary, Bundles (Guitars) Editions. Sales figures for ranks 11-20 are not available to the public.

TOP-SELLING PC GAMES - SEPTEMBER 2009
Last Month / Rank / Title / Publisher
** / 1 / Aion / NCsoft
1 / 2 / The Sims 3 / Electronic Arts
** / 3 / Champions Online / Atari
2 / 4 / World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King / Blizzard
** / 5 / Aion: Collector's Edition / NCsoft
4 / 6 / Mumbo Jumbo Assortment / Mumbo Jumbo
3 / 7 / The Sims 2 Double Deluxe / Electronic Arts
6 / 8 / World of Warcraft: Battle Chest / Blizzard
** / 9 / Reel Deal Slots Treasures of the Far East / Phantom EFX
8 / 10 / World of Warcraft / Blizzard
9 / 11 / Spore / Electronic Arts
** / 12 / Grand Theft Auto IV / Rockstar Games (Take 2)
11 / 13 / Starcraft: Battle Chest / Blizzard
** / 14 / Zuma's Revenge / PopCap Games
13 / 15 / World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade / Blizzard
** / 16 / Batman: Arkham Asylum / Eidos
19 / 17 / Reel Deal Slots Adventure / Phantom EFX
10 / 18 / Nancy Drew: Ransom of The Seven Ships / Her
17 / 19 / Civilization IV: Complete Edition / 2K Games
** / 20 / The Sims 2 University Life Collection / Electronic Arts

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