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Analysis: NPD Top 20 Reveals Increased DS Trend, Chinatown Wars Placement

Extended software sales charts from the NPD Group shed light on a software trend in favor of the Nintendo DS -- with GTA: Chinatown Wars in the top 20 -- this Gamasutra-exclusive analysis takes an in-depth look.
Extended software sales charts from the NPD Group provide additional context about the shifts in consumer demand, after yesterday's results showed slowing software sales and diminished hardware sales. While Nintendo dominated the top 10 chart with three titles each for the Nintendo Wii and three Nintendo DS, the extended listing below reveals that four additional titles for the Nintendo DS made it into the top 20 and none for the Wii. The increased focus on Nintendo DS software is not surprising given the strong launch of the Nintendo DSi, a hardware update to the Nintendo DS Lite. With over 1 million new DS-compatible systems sold in April alone, including DS Lite and DSi, sales of older catalog titles like New Super Mario Bros. have risen along with newer titles like Rhythm Heaven (which received a strong advertising push with its launch). Chinatown Wars placed in the top 20 again, although without specific numbers revealed, it's difficult to peg how well the game -- whose unit sales have come under close scrutiny as a bellwether for mature content on the DS platform -- has sold. Last month, when it launched, it was revealed to have sold 89,000 units, and its failure to break the top 10 this month suggests that April has added fewer than 91,000 units to its total. The system with the second most titles in the top 20 during April 2009 was Microsoft's Xbox 360. The new gangster-management sim, The Godfather II from Electronic Arts, was the 5th top-selling title for the month with last month's top title, Resident Evil 5 for the Xbox 360, falling to 6th. Other top sellers for Microsoft's console were Guitar Hero: Aerosmith (#9), Guitar Hero: Metallica (#11), Call of Duty: World at War (#17), and Major League Baseball 2K9 at #20. As with last month, the Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation 3 had the same number of titles sell well enough to place in the top 20. Whereas four titles for each system ranked last month, that figure dropped to three in April. The top-selling PlayStation 3 game for the month was The Godfather II, which took the #10 spot in the top 10. Below it were the baseball title MLB '09: The Show, ranked 14th for the month, and the PlayStation 3 version of Resident Evil 5, ranked 16th. For regular chart watchers, the three Nintendo Wii titles which made the top 20 should come as no surprise, since they are the same three Nintendo-published Wii titles which have dominated the top 10 since May 2008. Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii, and Wii Play took #1, #3, and #5 (respectively) in April 2009. Guitar Hero: Metallica was the only title to make the chart for the once-dominant PlayStation 2. The full chart follows:

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