NPD: May game sales top $815 million

Industry-wide sales surge 49 percent; consoles up nearly 80 percent, software up 33 percent.

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Though the NPD group painted a mixed picture of the game industry in April, its just-released monthly assessment was downright rosy. During the May reporting period, some $815.5 million in non-PC game software, hardware, and accessories were sold at retail in the US, an impressive 49 percent increase over May 2006.

The biggest increase came in hardware, which racked up $319.3 million in revenue. After enjoying a banner April, consoles roared ahead with $221.4 million in sales--a whopping 79 percent increase from the year before. The month's best-selling full-sized machine was once again the Nintendo Wii, with 338,000 units, followed by the PlayStation 2's 188,000 units. Some 155,000 Xbox 360s were sold, nearly twice the PlayStation 3's 82,000 units. NPD did not provide figures for GameCube or original Xbox sales.

Portable hardware was also up in May, rising 45 percent to $97.9 million. The returning champion was the Nintendo DS with 423,000 units--the most of any platform--followed by the rising PlayStation Portable's 221,000 units. The month also saw 81,000 units of the venerable Game Boy Advance come off store shelves.

Industry software sales for May totaled $380.8 million, a 33.2 percent year-on-year increase from May 2006, when sales slid 10 percent. Of that, $274 million was console software--a 31 percent year-over-year increase--and $106.6 million was portable software, a 39 percent increase.

After triumphing in April, Pokémon Diamond was the month's top non-PC title, with 331,200 units sold. Its sibling, Pokémon Pearl, came in fourth with 238,000 units; no other portable titles made NPD's top 10 list. The best-selling console title was number-two finisher Mario Party 8 (Wii), followed by Spider-Man 3 (3rd, PS2), Wii Play (5th, Wii), Forza MotorSport 2 (6th, 360), Guitar Hero II (7th, 360), Spider-Man 3 (8th, 360), Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars (9th, 360), and Guitar Hero II (10th, PS2).

Half the top 10 games were first-party, with four from Nintendo and one from Microsoft. Nintendo was the month's biggest publisher, with a 22 percent share in the US console software market. That isn't necessarily good news for the rest of the industry, though. According to UBS analyst Benjamin Schachter, "continued first-party strength this [console] cycle is a key risk for third-party publishers...as Nintendo rebounds and Microsoft focuses on and improves its AAA titles."

However, one third party was definitely smelling the May flowers. Activision had four titles in the top 10, a 151 percent year-on-year increase in revenue, and 20 percent market share during the month. According to Schachter, the company's Guitar Hero franchise accounted for 7 percent of all US software revenue for the month.

Last, and in some estimations, least, nearly $115 million of non-PC game accessories were sold at retail in May, according to NPD.

MAY 2007 US RETAIL HARDWARE SALES (All numbers approximate)
1) DS: 423,000
2) Wii: 338,000
3) PlayStation Portable: 221,000
4) PlayStation 2: 188,000
5) Xbox 360: 155,000
6) PlayStation 3: 82,000
7) Game Boy Advance: 81,000

MAY 2007 US RETAIL SOFTWARE SALES (By volume; all numbers approximate)
1) Pokémon Diamond (DS - Nintendo) 331,200
2) Mario Party 8 (Wii - Nintendo) 314,400
3) Spider-Man 3 (PS2 - Activision) 248,700
4) Pokémon Pearl (DS - Nintendo) 238,000
5) Wii Play (with Wii Remote - Wii) 249,000
6) Forza Motorsport 2 (360 - Microsoft) 217,300
7) Guitar Hero II (with Guitar - Xbox 360 - Activision) 183,600
8) Spider-Man 3 (360 - Activision) 139,800
9) Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars (360 - Electronic Arts) 137,700
10) Guitar Hero II (with Guitar - PS2 - Activision) 130,900

MAY 2007 US SOFTWARE MARKET
Publisher / Market Share / YOY Revenue Change
1) Nintendo / 22% / 139%
2) Activision / 20% / 151%
3) Electronic Arts / 17% / -10% /
4) Microsoft / 7% / 408%
5) Sony 6% / 18%
6) Ubisoft 5% / 2%
7) Take-Two 4% / -43%
8) THQ 3% / -4%
9) Disney 3% / 298%
10) Sega 2% / 31%

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