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In-Depth: The Top 5-Selling Games Of 2008 So Far
In-Depth: The Top 5-Selling Games Of 2008 So Far Exclusive
November 17, 2008 | By Matt Matthews, Staff

November 17, 2008 | By Matt Matthews, Staff
More: Console/PC, Exclusive

As part of Gamasutra's comprehensive new U.S. sales analysis, we've extrapolated the top 5 selling video games of 2008 so far in the region.

Last week at the BMO Capital Markets Conference, Take 2 claimed that its Grand Theft Auto 4 had sold to 32 percent of PlayStation 3 owners and 28 percent of Xbox 360 owners through the beginning of October 2008.

Using this as a starting point, and bringing in approximate sales figures for other games, we can put together an estimated top 5 software ranking based on year-to-date unit sales.

While the figures for Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Grand Theft Auto 4 are estimates (neither of the publishers nor the NPD Group have released official data), the maximum possible error in each figure should not affect the rankings.

(For those interested, the PS3 version of Grand Theft Auto 4 had likely sold in the neighborhood of 1.8 million by the end of October.)

For comparison, here is the final top 5 for the entire year of 2007, as published by the NPD Group in January of this year.

Notice that Wii Play appears in both lists. Should Wii Play sell in November and December of this year as it did in 2007, it will have appeared in the top 5 for two years in a row, with higher sales in the second year.

In a mere two months, we will have the full 2008 results, and it will be interesting to compare at that time with the results today. Keep in mind that the titles in the top 5 year-to-date in 2008 still have the benefit of sales in the two biggest months of the year, November and December.

One contender for the top spot this year is Wii Fit. It has realized a higher weekly sales rate month after month, reaching a peak of 121,000 per week in October.

Should it continue at that rate through the end of 2008, it could get very close to 4 million units for the year, an astounding figure for a completely new property.

Finally, if we perform a rudimentary estimation of the top 5 games by revenue so far this year, we arrive at the following ranking:

As expected, the higher price of Wii Fit puts it far ahead of the competition, with as estimated $250 million in revenue.

Grand Theft Auto 4 for the Xbox 360 ranks higher than most Wii games with higher unit sales by virtue of its higher retail price.

You can now read the full Gamasutra-exclusive analysis, examining October's NPD U.S. game hardware/software sales in more detail, revealing fascinating additional insights, guitar wars, and much more.

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Alan Rimkeit
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Oh Sony, what have you fools done? A serious price drop is needed yesterday for the PS3.

Christopher McLaren
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I think the Ps3 is in it for the long haul. I don't see another console from Sony for at least another 6 years. I think they will develop with what they have and get as much income as they can from it.

They really need 1 "must have" game, 1 online blockbuster game and 1 PS3 only game to start making inroads. 2009 will be interesting for Sony. I think a price reduction will come early 2009.

Andrew Heywood
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The order's surely not right for the first chart. Given that it's titled "The Top Selling Games of 2008", surely you have to count all platform sales of GTAIV when comparing, which would put it _way_ in the lead.

Gavin Goslin
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I think the Wii Play numbers are a little misleading as the majority of people buy it because it's packaged with a Wii controller. As a stand alone game I don't think it would have done as well.

Ryan Barrett
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I would just like to back up Gavin's comment that the only reason Wii Play is selling so well is because of the pre-packages Wiimote with every game. It's the only reason to buy it. Otherwise, it's just a $10 tech demo.

gstarr W
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Actually, Nintendo's own reports show that the average purchaser of Wii Play, plays the "tech demo" for 30 hours. That's liking the game. that's purchasing it for the GAME and not the Wii-mote. It is being recommended by word of mouth. And Nintendo is raking in the dough. Keep in mind Sega is selling Super Monkey Ball on itunes for $10 too. Too bad Sony and M$ are too stupid to do the same. Sony could at least do a Sixaxis Mini-game Collection. God knows they need the money.....

John Ingrams
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Feel sorry for PC gamers. We don;t get talked about at all nowadays, even when talking about the Top 20, or even Top 50! Despite this, is I go into any PC gaming forum and even suggest PC gaming is 'struggling' and I get flamed to death by PC gamers, with no information, only opinion, flaming me too high heavens even for bringing the subject up! Most of them will say Downloads are the hidden success of PC gaming, practically always mentioning Steam - evn though Steam never gives out unit sales!