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Analysis: May NPD Top 20 Illustrates Nintendo Dominance

Publishing and analyzing NPD's extended top 20 U.S. game sales charts for May, Gamasutra discovers Nintendo hardware based titles capturing half of the slots, and fitness games continuing their popularity.
According to figures released yesterday by the NPD Group, video game software sales in the United States during May 2009 were down and Nintendo titles dominated the all-format top 10 chart. The extended top 20 software listing, released to Gamasutra today, reveals that titles for Nintendo platforms took half of the available slots -- also showing new life for big franchises, and even more support for fitness titles. As previously discussed, the top selling franchise for the month was clearly UFC 2009 Undisputed, published by THQ. The title sold over a million copies in May 2009 with the Xbox 360 version topping the chart with 680,000 units and the PlayStation 3 version ranking fourth with 334,000 units. Two other leading franchises figured in May's software chart. Nintendo's Mario Kart series and Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty series took two slots each. The Wii version of Mario Kart drove up at #7, its 14th appearance in the top 10 in as many months. Moreover, Mario Kart for the Nintendo DS again slipped into the top 20, this time at #12, despite having been released 3.5 years ago in November 2005. The Xbox 360 version of Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: World at War remained in the top 20 for a seventh consecutive month, but was outdone by its predecessor on the same platform, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which ranked fourteenth in May. With three Wii titles compatible with the Wii Balance Board appearing on the all-format top 20, fitness software was also a theme for the month. Leading off as the second best-selling title for the month was Wii Fit from Nintendo, itself packaged with the Balance Board accessory. Just behind Wii Fit, at third, was EA Sports Active by Electronic Arts. Each of these titles sold around 350,000 units for the month. Finishing out the top 20 was Gold's Gym Cardio Workout, also for the Wii and Balance Board, somewhere below 100,000 units. (Only the titles in the top 10 sold over 100,000 units according to a report by Michael Pachter, analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities.) Note that Cardio Workout launched in March, so this was actually its third month of sales measured by the NPD Group. (Furthermore My Fitness Coach from Ubisoft was the eighth best-selling Wii game in May, although it did not sell well enough for the all-platform top 20.) The full top 20 U.S. console game sales for the month of May 2009 is as follows: top-20-may-2009.png Other notable trends? In addition to UFC 2009 Undisputed, two other titles for Sony's PlayStation 3 ranked in the top 20 in May 2009. The new property from Sucker Punch, inFamous, debuted at fifth on the chart having moved nearly 176,000 units in under a week on store shelves. The other PlayStation 3 title was X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged from Activision Blizzard at #13. The Xbox 360 version was further up the chart at #9. Across all platforms – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Nintendo DS, Wii, and PC – the new movie-tie in game may be nearing 400,000 units, including 108,000 recorded in the previous month of NPD Group data.

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