'Grand Theft Auto' sales hit 8.5 million units

“Grand Theft Auto IV” and Nintendo were kings of the videogame kingdom again in May, but Sony surprised the biz by landing in second place for the month in console sales.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 sold 209,000 units domestically in May, according to the NPD Group. That’s well ahead of Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which has generally been a solid No. 2 behind Nintendo’s Wii.

Earlier in the year, the PS3 briefly outsold Xbox 360, but Microsoft blamed that on supply constraints following the holidays. In May there were no supply issues, nor were there any big PS3-exclusive games. A combination of last year’s price cuts, the built-in Blu-ray player and a growing library of games appear to be giving Sony an advantage over its competitor.

However, neither console got much of a sales boost out of the release of “Grand Theft Auto IV,” as they had been hoping. PS3’s 209,000 units sold is up moderately from April and down from March, while Xbox 360 sales fell for the second month in a row to 187,000 units.

Meanwhile, Nintendo Wii sales also slipped, though the lower-priced console was still a dominant No. 1 at 675,000 units.

“Grand Theft Auto IV” took the Nos. 1 and 4 game sales spots for its 360 and PS3 versions, respectively. Game sold 1.3 million units in April and has sold a total of 4.2 million, according to NPD. Publisher Take-Two Interactive recently said the game has sold 8.5 million units worldwide.

Nintendo’s “Mario Kart Wii” was No. 2 for the second month in a row, selling 788,000 units and bringing its total to almost 2 million.

“Wii Fit,” the new exercise game from Nintendo, had a very strong debut despite its high $90 price and unique balance board peripheral. Game sold 688,000 units in its first month, landing it at No. 3.

The only other new game to hit the top 10 was Sega’s adaptation of “Iron Man.” PlayStation 2 version sold a decent 131,000 units.

Several other high-profile new games didn’t manage to sell the minimum of 102,000 units to break into NPD’s top 10 for May, including Electronic Arts’ “Boom Blox,” developed with Steven Spielberg, and Disney Interactive’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.”

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