The return of Grand Theft Auto has served as a valuable power-up for the retail video game business.
Overall sales of retail video games in September surged 27%, fueled by a leap in software led by Take-Two Interactive’s criminal escapade Grand Theft Auto V.
NPD analyst Liam Callahan says GTA represented more than half of dollar sales for the month. “The launch of Grand Theft Auto V this September was a much needed shot in the arm for the industry,” said Callahan in a statement.
The game has been a huge success for Take-Two and developer Rockstar Games. Grand Theft Auto V generated $1 billion in sales during its first three days — an industry record — Take-Two revealed days after the game’s launch.
Software sales were up 52% compared to the same time last year. Sports games finished strong last month, with four titles appearing in the top 10 in sales: Madden NFL 25, NBA 2K14, FIFA 14 and NHL 14. The complete top 10 (publishers in parentheses):
1. Grand Theft Auto V (Take-Two Interactive)
2. Madden NFL 25 (Electronic Arts)
3. NBA 2K14 (Take-Two Interactive)
4. Diablo III (Activision Blizzard)
5. FIFA 14 (Electronic Arts)
6. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX (Square Enix)
7. Disney Infinity (Disney Interactive)
8. NHL 14 (Electronic Arts)
9. Minecraft (Microsoft)
10. Saints Row IV (Deep Silver)
Hardware sales remained down, as video game players await the arrivals of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The PlayStation 3 was the top selling home console last month, ending Microsoft’s 32-month streak with its Xbox 360. Credit the surge again to Grand Theft Auto V, which was paired with PS3 as part of a packaged bundle.
As for Nintendo flailing Wii U, a recent price cut seems to have provided an early spark. Sales of the device were up 200% compared to August following a drop in price from $359 to $300.
October marks the final month before video game players will greet new console hardware. Several high-profile franchises return this month, including Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield and Batman.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @bam923.