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NPD: GTAV leads surging September

Research group finds Rockstar's open-world game had the highest first-month sales in franchise history; industry sales up 27 percent overall.

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Grand Theft Auto V sales alone in the United States represented more than 50 percent of total software sales for September, the NPD Group announced today. The game had the highest first-month sales of any previous launch in the franchise and has generated more than $1 billion to date.

Overall, total industry sales rose 27 percent year-over-year to $1.08 billion during September. NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan said this figure only truly represents 50 percent of the total consumer spend on games for the month. Factoring in sales from used and rental sources, as well as digital format revenue, the total consumer spend would actually be just under $1.9 billion.

"The launch of Grand Theft Auto V this September was a much needed shot in the arm for the industry," Callahan said. "Overall retail sales across hardware, software and accessories were up 27 percent versus September 2012, lifted by software sales of Grand Theft Auto V."

In terms of hardware, Nintendo's 3DS was again the top performer, outselling the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita for the fifth straight month. A strong performance is expected in October, Callahan said, due to the launch of the 2DS and Pokemon X&Y.

Sony's PS3 was the top home console overall, breaking the Xbox 360's 32-month streak from January 2011 through August 2013. The NPD Group said the PS3's upswing this month was largely driven by sales of the special 500GB GTAV bundle.

Wii U hardware sales rose 200 percent during September compared to August, following a $50 price cut in the middle of the month. US industry hardware sales overall fell 13 percent to $183.2 million.

Switching to software, this category spiked 52 percent to $754.3 million following the release of GTAV on September 17. GTAV is now the highest-selling game launched in any September since NPD began tracking the US industry in 1995.

"Grand Theft Auto represented over 50 percent of dollar sales in September, and had the highest first-month sales than any other previous launch in the Grand Theft Auto franchise," Callahan said.

The accessories category rose 2 percent to $142.3 million. Its growth was attributed to an increase in Interactive Gaming Toys of over 180 percent from Skylanders and Disney Infinity.

"September 2013 sales for Video Game point and Subscription cards also increased versus 2012, making it the best September on record for these types of items--another indication of consumers' increasing comfort with digital content," Callahan said.

SEPTEMBER US GAME SALES (September 1-October 5, 2013)


  • Total retail sales: $1.08 billion (+27%)
  • Non-PC hardware: $183.2 million (-13%)
  • Non-PC software: $754.3 (+52%)
  • Accessories: $142.3 (+2%)
  • Total software: $768.6 million (+40%)


Title (Platforms) - Publisher

  • 1. Grand Theft Auto V - (X360, PS3) - Take-Two Interactive
  • 2. Madden NFL 25 - (X360, PS3) - Electronic Arts
  • 3. NBA 2K14 - (X360, PS3, PC) - Take-Two Interactive
  • 4. Diablo III - (X360, PS3, PC) - Activision Blizzard
  • 5. FIFA 14 - (X360, PS3, PS Vita) - Electronic Arts
  • 6. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix - (PS3) - Square Enix
  • 7. Disney Infinity - (X360, Wii, PS3, Wii U, 3DS ) - Disney Interactive
  • 8. NHL 14 - (X360, PS3) - Electronic Arts
  • 9. Minecraft - (X360) - Microsoft
  • 10. Saints Row IV - (X360, PS3, PC) - Deep Silver
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