As expected, Grand Theft Auto IV has dominated NPD's April North American sales figures with combined sales of 1.85 million units, as Mario Kart manages a million selling debut and the Wii continues to dominate hardware sales.
Overall, the entire video game market -- both hardware and software -- accounted for $1.23 billion in April, up 47 percent from the year prior.
Said NPD analyst Anita Frazier, "The industry continues to set a blistering sales pace, and now shows a year-to-date increase of 31% over last year's record-setting revenues."
"This is the first month in many that we've seen a decrease in portable hardware and software sales," she added, "but it's important to remember that this year, the Easter holiday fell in March as compared to April in 2007. April 2007 and March 2008 saw sizable games in portable in part due to the holiday timing."
Hardware numbers were up 26 percent to $426.2 million, with the Xbox 360 continuing its slim lead over the PlayStation 3 after two months behind. As above, the DS and PSP saw sales fall behind the previous month, but the Wii held on to its lead, easily outselling both consoles combined.
The full charts are as follows:
Wii - 714.2K (from 721K)
Nintendo DS - 414.8K (from 698K)
PSP - 192.7K (from 297K)
Xbox 360 - 188.0K (from 230K)
PlayStation 3 - 187.1K (from 257K)
PlayStation 2 - 124.4K (from 216K)
Frazier commented, "As retail supplies become more plentiful we're seeing continued sales strength of Wii hardware. With a couple of blockbuster games already in the market this year, and with Wii Fit and Rock Band still to come in the next two months, the pipeline of content to continue to drive hardware acquisition looks very good."
"It was surprising not to see bigger hardware sales for the Xbox 360 and the PS3 given the release of GTA IV. However, since the game was only in the market for 5 days during this reporting period, that sales lift could very well be evident in May data."
On the software side, April sales were up 68 percent to $654.7 million, with the release of Grand Theft Auto IV. The title sold a combined 2.85 million in its five days on the market, with the Xbox 360 version nearly selling double the PlayStation 3 version.
Elsewhere, Mario Kart debuted at number two as another million selling title, and the double Pokemon Mystery Dungeon titles made similar strong debuts in the top 10, as did the retail release of Sony's Gran Turismo 5: Prologue, also available as a download from the PlayStation Network.
The full rundown is as follows:
1. Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360, Take-Two) - 1.85m
2. Mario Kart (Wii, Nintendo) - 1.12m
3. Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, Take-Two) - 1.00m
4. Wii Play w/remote (Wii, Nintendo) - 360K
5. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii, Nintendo) - 326K
6. Gran Turismo 5: Prologue (PS3, Sony) - 224K
7. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness (DS, Nintendo) - 202K
8. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time (DS, Nintendo) - 202K
9. Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock w/guitar (Wii, Activision) - 152K
10. Call of Duty 4 (Xbox 360, Activision) - 141K
Added Frazier, "GTA IV captured two of the three top game spots, realizing an attach rate of 20% to the combined Xbox 360 and PS3 install bases. With only 5 days at retail during the reporting month, GTA IV is one of the fastest-selling titles in video games history."
"In a classic example of counter-programming, Mario Kart for the Wii captured the second-highest game sales for the month," she continued. "It's unusual for three games to exceed the 1-million mark in a non-holiday month which just goes to prove that great content can succeed regardless of when it is launched."
"At this point in the console transition we'd expect to see a greater portion of total industry sales to come from console software sales," Frazier concluded, "and in fact console software sales were up 121 percent accounting for 44 percent of total industry revenues."