For the first time in two and a half years, Sony's PlayStation 3 has overtaken Microsoft's Xbox 360 console in terms of US sales, according to September figures released by the NPD Group. Interestingly, the reversal comes at a time when both companies are due to release their next-generation consoles in a month's time.
According to the NPD Group, the increased sales of Sony's PS3 console were because of the Grand Theft Auto V bundle. The highly-anticipated GTA V managed to break numerous sales records on launch, and the research group says the game has actually given the entire games industry a boost in September. In fact, sales in the same month of the Xbox 360 game titles amounted to $401.2 million (US only), the most earned by the platform in September since the console's launch.
NPD analyst Liam Callahan elaborates: "The launch of Grand Theft Auto V this September was a much needed shot in the arm for the industry. Overall retail sales across hardware, software and accessories were up 27% versus September 2012, lifted by software sales of Grand Theft Auto V." The game's sales reportedly accounted for roughly half of the overall gaming sales in the US in September.
Following the NPD report, Microsoft released a statement announcing that it had shipped more than 80 million Xbox 360 consoles since its launch in 2005, with 1.6 million consoles sold in 2013 alone - putting it in top place for the year. This also puts the Xbox 360 in seventh place in overall sales, behind the Sony PlayStation and PlayStation 2, and the Nintendo DS, Game Boy, Game Boy Colour, Wii, and Game Boy Advance.
In terms of overall hardware sales, including portable gaming consoles, September once again saw the Nintendo 3DS outsell everything else on the market, with the reduced pricing and release of extremely popular Pokémon X & Y games helping it along. Nintendo earlier revealed the company had experienced a 200 percent increase in sales of the Wii U in Septmeber (as compared to August), due to its $50 price reduction for the Deluxe model, and the release of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD bundle.