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NPD: Xbox 360 Sales Beat PS3 in September

Market research firm NPD has released new video game sales figures for September 2008, and while the Nintendo Wii is still far and away the top-selling video game system, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 shows surprising strength, trouncing the PS3 in the United States during September. According to NPD, Microsoft sold 347,000 Xbox 360 consoles during the month, following price cuts early in the month that put the least expensive Xbox 360 below the price of the Nintendo Wii. In comparison, Sony managed to sell 232,000 PlayStation 3 consoles during the month…although the Nintendo Wii was far-and-away the console winner, moving 687,000 units during September.

Sony’s console sales figures get a little rosier for September if sales of its older PlayStation 2 unit are factored in: Sony managed to push 174,000 PlayStation 2 units out the door even as the console approaches its ninth anniversary. Still Nintendo’s Wii sales represent a 34 percent sales increase over August, when the company sold a mere 453,000 consoles.

Nintendo also sold sine 537,000 Nintendo DS handheld systems, while Sony moved 238,000 PlayStation Portables.

Among games, the Xbox 360 edition of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed earned the top spot for the month with 610,000 copies sold, and the Xbox-exclusive Rock Band 2 came in third with 363,000 copies. The Wii landed the second and fourth game sales slots with Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii. The PS3 version of The Force Unleashed came in fifth with 325,000 units sold.

In terms of sales, September 2008 actually represented the first monthly decline in the video game industry since March 2006 when considered year-on-year, but it’s important to note September 2007 was a very strong month for the industry due to the release of Halo 3. Overall, NPD0 expects the video game industry to continue to do good business even as economies falter.