U.S. video game sales up 37 percent in May: NPD

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - U.S. sales of video game hardware and software were $1.12 billion in May, up 37 percent from a year earlier, with Take-Two Interactive Software Corp's TTWO.O "Grand Theft Audio 4" the best-selling title for the month, market researcher NPD said in a report on Thursday.

GTA 4 is already the top-selling game title so far this year following its April launch, racking up sales of 4.2 million units. Sales of the game for both the Xbox 360 and Sony Corp’s PlayStation 3 consoles totaled 1.31 million units in May.

During the month, Nintendo Co Ltd 7974.OS sold 675,000 Wiis, Sony Corp 6758.T sold 209,000 PlayStation 3 machines and Microsoft Corp MSFT.O sold 187,000 Xbox 360 consoles.

Both Microsoft and Sony have said sales of GTA 4 would likely translate into a surge of consoles sales but the numbers for May didn’t bear out that notion.

“The continued success of GTA 4 is not translating into big hardware sales for either the PS3 or the 360 but there may yet be a lift in June due to gift giving for Father’s Day and graduations,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in the report.

To date, the U.S. video games industry has generated $6.6 billion in sales, topping total 2007 annual revenue, NPD said. It noted that the industry is on pace to see revenue in the $21 billion to $23 billion range in 2008.

The Wii from Nintendo, which has benefited from hit games such as the Wii Fit exercise title, and Nintendo’s DS have garnered the top two spots in hardware sales for the fourth consecutive month, NPD said.

Reporting by Duncan Martell, editing by Mark Porter