U.S. Video-Game Sales Rise in September on ‘Grand Theft’

U.S. sales of video-game products jumped 27 percent last month to $1.08 billion, driven by purchases of Take-Two Interactive Inc.’s “Grand Theft Auto V.”

Software sales increased 52 percent to $754.3 million, from a year earlier, Port Washington, New York-based NPD Group Inc. said today in an e-mail. The advance countered a 13 percent drop in hardware sales to $183.2 million. Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 broke Microsoft Corp.’s 32-month streak as the best-selling home console, to take the top spot.

“The launch of ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ this September was a much-needed shot in the arm for the industry,” said Liam Callahan, an analyst for NPD, said in the statement.

The title from New York-based Take-Two, a mayhem-filled fantasy of thug life in Southern California, surpassed $1 billion in three days after its release last month, hitting the mark faster than any other game or movie. It’s a boost for the industry, which has suffered as consumers have shifted to Web-delivered titles played on smartphones and tablets.

With Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One going on sale next month, the first upgrades in more than six years, both companies are betting the faster machines will entice enthusiasts and casual gamers.

Take-Two’s results weren’t the only highlights for the month. Walt Disney Co.’s “Disney Infinity,” the product that combines collectible figurines with an on-screen game, was the seventh-best selling title, NPD said. Along with Activision Blizzard Inc.’s “Skylanders” game, interactive gaming toy sales rose more than 180 percent from a year ago, the researcher said.

Nintendo Co., based in Kyoto, Japan, led video-game hardware sales for the fifth consecutive month in September with its 3DS handheld console, the company said in a separate statement, citing NPD. The company cut the Wii U price by $50 to $300 ahead of the new units from Microsoft and Sony.

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