The PlayStation 3 may have killed it in the hardware contest last month, but Xbox 360 software reigned supreme this September, thanks to Bungie's Halo 3: ODST. The game dropped more than 1.5 million copies in its debut month.
That makes Halo 3: ODST the bestselling game in the United States by a wide margin, outselling its nearest competitor, Wii Sports Resort, by more than a million copies. It's not quite as impressive as the launch of Halo 3, which turned in 3.3 million copies when it launched, but clearly enough for the win.
ODST had some stiff competition in September, with new top ten software appearances from games like Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the only portable game to chart, Madden NFL 10 and The Beatles: Rock Band. Superhero games also scored big, with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 and Batman: Arkham Asylum moving more than 200,000 copies each on the Xbox 360 and PS3 respectively.
Here's how September's game sales worked out, by the numbers.
01. Halo 3: ODST (Xbox 360) - 1,520,000
02. Wii Sports Resort (Wii) - 442,900
03. Madden NFL 10 (Xbox 360) - 298,600
04. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (DS) - 258,100
05. The Beatles: Rock Band (Xbox 360) - 254,000
06. Madden NFL 10 (PS3) - 246,500
07. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (Xbox 360) - 236,000
08. Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3) - 212,500
09. Guitar Hero 5 (Xbox 360) - 210,800
10. The Beatles: Rock Band (Wii) - 208,600
Game purchases for the month amounted to $649.32 million, a five percent increase over the previous September. We're sure the video game industry has already sent a thank you card to Bungie for the uncommon boost.
Here's NPD analyst Anita Frazier's take on the whole thing.
"Halo 3 certainly impacted the industry two years ago (Sep'07) when it was launched, and this year, Halo 3: ODST realized impressive sales making it the 6th best-selling SKU launch of all time," she says.
"We know all eyes are going to be on the Rock Band and Guitar Hero sales since the music/dance genre has been so closely followed by many this year. Both titles captured a spot in the top 10 for the month and at the item level, across all platforms, The Beatles: Rock Band came in third behind Halo 3: ODST and Madden NFL 10 while Guitar Hero 5 came in fourth. The Beatles: Rock Band achieved this level of success with an average retail price premium of 130% to the average retail price for software overall. The sales of Rock Band and Guitar Hero led the music/dance genre to a 72% dollar sales increase over September 2008."
"Madden NFL 10 made up some ground this month," Frazier points out, finding the silver lining in Madden's weaker 2009 sales. "Although when launched in August the game sold 19% fewer units than its predecessor a year prior, with a second month of sales in, that deficit has been reduced to 13%, which bodes very well for the title through the holiday season."