Video-Game Sales Down as New Consoles Loom

U.S. video-game software sales fell 10.2 percent in May to $286.1 million as the industry continues to work through a transition to new console technology that has kept many consumers to the sidelines, market research group NPD said on Wednesday.

Consumers are awaiting Sony's (SNE) launch of its Playstation 3 console in November and Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s launch of its Wii console in the fourth quarter. Microsoft Corp.(MSFT) introduced its Xbox 360 last year.

Nintendo's "New Super Mario Bros.," a remake of the classic action game for the company's DS hand-held player, was the best-selling video game in May.

Nintendo also held the No. 3 spot with "Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day," which uses Sudoku and other puzzles to improve memory and other mental skills, NPD said.

NPD measures nearly two-thirds of video-game retail sales in the United States and makes projections for the remainder of the market. Its May data excludes sales of PC games.

Square Enix Co. Ltd's "Kingdom Hearts II," an action game for Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 2 starring iconic Walt Disney Co. (DIS) characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, was the second-place finisher.

Rounding out the top five were Sony Computer Entertainment America's mythological battle game "God of War" for the PS2 and "Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion," the fantasy role-playing game for Microsoft's Xbox 360.

"Elder Scrolls" is co-published by Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO) and Bethesda Softworks.

Separately, Nintendo said it sold 136,500 of its new DS Lite players in the United States on Sunday and Monday. The game player weighs less than the DS and has a brighter screen.

A Nintendo spokesman said DS Lite sales appear to be on pace with those from the launch of the DS, which sold 500,000 units in the first 10 days after its U.S. debut in November 2004