The Xbox 360 may have been outsold by the competition in May, with the console looking to lose its first place position in the U.S. to the Wii any second now, you'd think the boys in Redmond would be bummed. On the contrary! They're pleased as punch, at least according to the May NPD sales corporate response.

As expected, Microsoft brags about the performance of GTA IV on the 360, which "outsold the other platform's version 2:1." In fact, it's all about third-party power ($110 million in May!) and attach rates (7.7 per Xbox 360!) for MS. Third parties have raked in $3.9 billion on the platform since launch. That's almost four billion dollars!

Sure, boasting of "more playing time" on the Xbox 360 among 10-26 year olds may smack of desperation and demographic cherry picking, but when the Nielsen Games GamePlay Metrics service shows that the Xbox 360 "gets roughly 75 hours of use per month," buddy, you get a pass!

Also, just you wait until E3, Microsoft says, as the company has "quite a few aces left up our sleeve." Oh, do tell!

NPD has released its May retail sales data, and Xbox 360 continues to lead the current generation of gaming consoles. Highlights include:

"Grand Theft Auto IV" continues blistering pace on Xbox 360 platform, beating the other platform version by 2:1

· With 871,000 total unit sales in May, "Grand Theft Auto IV" on Xbox 360 outsold the other platform's version 2:1. (May NPD data)

Xbox 360 generates more dollars at retail for third party publishers

· With $110 million in third party game sales in May, Xbox 360 continues to move more third party games than any other console. Lifetime-to-date Xbox 360 has generated $3.9 billion dollars at retail for third party publishers, or 59% of the total in this generation. (May NPD data)

· 21 of the 25 top selling third party franchise titles with releases this generation, like "Grand Theft Auto IV," sell best on Xbox 360. Eighteen of those franchises were previous best-sellers, and two were exclusives, on the PlayStation 2. (May NPD data)

· Only Xbox 360 is providing an improved software attach rate for third party games generation-over-generation. Xbox 360 continues to lead the industry with a record-breaking software attach rate of 7.7. (May NPD data)

Xbox 360 games outsell, outplay the competition

· Xbox 360 games rank higher than the competition with 12 games with a Metacritic score of 90 or higher, more than PS3 and Wii combined.

· Top-ranking games helped drive sales of 187,000 consoles in May contributing a global install base of more than 19 million. (May NPD data and Microsoft internal data)

· Game sales contributed to $214 million in total consumer spending on the Xbox 360 platform in May. Lifetime-to-date spending on Xbox 360 tops $9.9 billion, or 51% of share. (May NPD data)

Among 10-26 year olds, Xbox 360 gets more playing time than the Wii and PS3

· As reported in Nielsen's Consumer Insight newsletter, a summary of Nielsen Games GamePlay Metrics service (which electronically tracks console usage) from April 2007 to February 2008 shows that among 10-26 year olds, Xbox 360 gets on average over twice the game play as the Wii with younger gamers, likely due to a record software attach and a blockbuster games library. The Xbox 360 gets roughly 75 hours of use per month. Wii users spent just 35 hours per month gaming during the same time period.

· Xbox 360 gamers in this age range also play more than their counterparts on PS3, who spend about 53 hours per month gaming.

Xbox 360: E3 bound

· Last month we showcased an all-star lineup of games including "Gears of War 2," "Fable 2," "Banjo and Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts," "Viva Piñata 2," and "Too Human." We still have quite a few aces left up our sleeve; see you at E3 next month!