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Video Game Sales Sizzle in April

The video game industry enjoyed a banner month, with the launch of Grand Theft Auto IV leading the way.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The video games industry grew 47% in April compared to the same month a year ago, reaching $1.23 billion in sales of game devices, software and accessories.

The strong sales were led by the launch of

Grand Theft Auto IV

title, according to the monthly video games sales data from research firm, The NPD Group.


blockbuster hit console Wii continued to outsell its rivals by a wide margin, even as



PlayStation 3 ran head to head with


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Xbox 360 console during the month.

Microsoft sold 188,000 Xbox 360 units last month, down from 262,000 units in March, while Sony sold 187,100 PS3 consoles in April compared with 257,000 boxes the month before. The Xbox 360 was released a year before PS3's 2006 launch. Sony's older PS2 console sold 124,400 boxes, down from 216,000 consoles in March.

Only Nintendo saw sales rise to 714,200 Wiis in April compared with 698,000, the month before.

"As retail supplies become more plentiful we're seeing continued sales strength of Wii hardware," said Anita Frazier, an analyst with the NPD Group in a statement.

"With a couple of blockbuster games already in the market this year, and with Wii Fit ( a new peripheral from Nintendo for the Wii) and

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Electronic Arts'


Rock Band

for the Wii still to come in the next two months, the pipeline of content to drive hardware acquisition (for Nintendo) looks very good," said Frazier.

As expected


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grabbed the top spot on the video game charts with

Grand Theft Auto IV

, which sold a total of 2.85 million copies across the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles.



captured two of the three top game spots, realizing an attach rate of 20% to the combined Xbox 360 and PS3 install bases," said Frazier. "With only five days at retail during the reporting month,


is one of the fastest-selling titles in video games history"


Mario Kart

game came in second at 1.12 million copies. The company also grabbed the fourth and fifth spots for its titles

Wii Play


Super Smash Bros. Brawl


The company's

Mystery Dungeon

games for the handheld console Nintendo DS also did well and ranked seventh and eighth.

Activision was the only other independent publisher to find a place on the top ten chart with its

Guitar Hero III

title for the Wii (152,000 copies sold during April) and

Call of Duty 4

(141,000 copies) for the Xbox 360.

Overall sales of games software was up 68% to $654.7 million. Hardware sales rose 26% to $426.2 million last month.