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Wii Play, Guitar Hero III top games of far

Nintendo's Wii Remote pack-in and Activision's guitar-based rocker cap NPD's top 10 US bestsellers from Jan. 2000 to Aug. 2009; San Andreas, Call of Duty 4, Wii Fit also make chart.


Though it no longer enjoys a permanent spot on the monthly top 10 list, Wii Play has made its mark on the US game industry.

What a difference a remote makes.
What a difference a remote makes.

According to sales figures provided directly to GameSpot by the NPD Group, the Wii-exclusive minigame collection is the best-selling non-PC software title of the decade--so far. Some 11.1 million units of the tepidly reviewed title have been sold domestically since its 2006 release, in no small part due to the game being packed in with a Wii Remote. In May, Nintendo reported that nearly 23 million Wii Plays were sold worldwide.

Number two on NPD's list, which covers total multiplatform sales from January 2009 to August 2009, is Activision's Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Released in October 2007, the game has sold 10.3 million units on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360. The total covers all the game's retail configurations, including single- and double-guitar pack-ins and the solo software. As of May 2009, the Guitar Hero franchise--which Activision acquired for under $100 million in 2006--had generated over $2 billion in revenue.

Guitar Hero III brought faux-rock to over 10 million US living rooms.
Guitar Hero III brought faux-rock to over 10 million US living rooms.

Taking the bronze in the decade-to-date chart is its most controversial entry, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Xbox, PlayStation 2) with 9.8 million units. Released to universal acclaim in 2004, the game sparked massive controversy the following year, when the discovery of sex minigames caused the title to be re-rated, recalled, rereleased, and investigated by the federal government. Just last month, one of the last lawsuits filed over the game was settled for over $20 million.

Though Activision is touting Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as the "biggest entertainment launch ever," its predecessor had to settle for fourth place on NPD's 2000-2009 top 10. Released in 2007 for the PS3 and 360, the Infinity Ward-developed critical darling sold 8.5 million units domestically--and over 14 million worldwide as of Activision Blizzard's last financial report, released in August. That was 600,000 better than fifth-place finisher Wii Fit, which came exclusively in a $90 bundle with the Wii Balance Board.

"Oh, no. I am not falling for that 'Come up for some coffee' line again."

The most recent Treyarch-developed entry in the Call of Duty series, World at War, is the ninth best-selling game in the US, although NPD did not release figures for the bottom five titles. It barely bested Microsoft's 10th-place Halo 2 (2004), but fell behind sixth-place Madden NFL 07 (2006), seventh-place Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002), and eighth-place Madden NFL 08 (2007).

1 / Wii Play with Remote (2006) / Wii / 11.1 million
2 / Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (2007) / PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 / 10.3 million
3 / Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) / PS2, Xbox / 9.8 million
4 / Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) / DS, PS3, Xbox 360 / 8.5 million
5 / Wii Fit with Balance Board (2008) / Wii / 7.9 million
6 / Madden NFL 07 (2006) / GC, GBA, PSP, PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
7/ Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) / PS2, Xbox
8 / Madden NFL 08 (2007) / GC, PSP, PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360,
9 / Call of Duty: World at War (2008) / DS, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
10 / Halo 2 (2004) / Xbox

Source: The NPD Group. Sales figures for titles 6-10 not provided to press.

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