September NPD: PlayStation 3 Tops Xbox 360 for the First Time in Nearly Three Years, 3DS Rules the Roost

It's the first time Sony's PS3 has held the top console sales spot since 2011.

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I’ve been waiting nearly three years to see how Microsoft PR would handle the Xbox 360 losing a month to the PlayStation 3. Okay, not really waiting, but curious, given the amount of time that’s passed: 32 months! Microsoft’s been sending out a sales report each month since 2011 that goes something like “Xbox 360 maintains its lead in the U.S. console market for the X month in a row…”

Not this time. For September, NPD reports the PlayStation 3 finally pulled ahead of the Xbox 360, thanks in part to a Grand Theft Auto V PS3 system bundle. Microsoft’s email chose instead to highlight an Xbox 360 sales milestone (passing 80 million units sold worldwide) and added that the system “maintained its lead as the number one selling console in the U.S. in 2013.”

Was the latter ever in doubt? The Xbox 360′s been ahead of the PlayStation 3 in North America by millions of units for years; the chances it was going to lose that lead were precisely zero. In any event, it’s testament to the Xbox 360′s appeal (in the U.S., anyway — Sony’s slightly ahead in worldwide console sales) that the console’s held that top sales spot (excluding games handhelds) for 32 months straight.

September was really Nintendo’s month, however: the 3DS outsold everything, hardware-wise, for the fifth consecutive month despite Grand Theft Auto V‘s arrival, and with Pokémon X & Y demolishing sales records, it’s probably safe to assume the 3DS is a lock for October.

What about the Wii U after that $50 price drop on the Deluxe model, which lowered the price to $300? Nintendo says sales of its beleaguered console increased “by more than 200 percent over sales in August,” adding that that’s with just two weeks of data being reported at the new price. NPD says the Wii U The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD bundle helped. October should be telling.

Last but not least, software juggernaut Grand Theft Auto V accounted for fully half of all gaming dollar sales in September, says NPD, and “had the highest first month sales than any other previous launch in the Grand Theft Auto franchise.”

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles – Full

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