Plugged In

October game sales race forward thanks to GTA

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(Credit: Rockstar Games)

Trevor, Michael and Franklin might be particularly vicious criminals in Grand Theft Auto V, but they're heroes to the video game industry.

Grand Theft Auto helped propel the industry into positive growth for the third consecutive month in October. Software sales at brick and mortar retail stores were up 12 percent compared to the October 2012 figures, coming in at $482.5 million.

The asterisk to that good news is that improvement was lower than analysts were expecting. Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities had forecast a 34 percent increase in sales - which works out to $100 million more than the actual number.

The gangsters of GTA had a little help in pushing the numbers forward. Pokemon X and Y were the month's second and third top sellers - an especially impressive feat, given that they're only available on a single gaming system.

What might have held the numbers back a bit was the performance of Skylanders: Swap Force. The high-profile title was only the 8th biggest seller last month - and sales of video game accessories, which include Skylanders figurines, were only up 1 percent.

Hardware sales, not surprisingly, declined, but only by 8 percent to $171.7 million. Consumers typically don't buy gaming systems in October, as they wait for holiday specials. The Wii U's price cut Zelda bundle likely further staunched the hardware bleed ahead of the launch of next generation systems from Sony tomorrow and Microsoft next week.

Overall, the industry took in $791.1 million - a 5 percent overall increase from October 2012, but still fell far short of the $1 billion it made during the same month in 2011.

November might be a hard month to continue the gains, given how strongly Call of Duty: Black Ops II came out of the gate last year, but the launch of the new systems along with the rush of gamers buying software to play on them could keep the streak going.

In the meantime, here's a look at the month's top selling titles.





Grand Theft Auto V

Take 2 Interactive


Pokemon X



Pokemon Y



Battlefield 4

Electronic Arts


Batman: Arkham Origins

Warner Bros. Interactive


Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag



NBA 2K14

Take 2 Interactive


Skylanders SWAP Force

Activision Blizzard


Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Warner Bros. Interactive


WWE 2K14

Take 2 Interactive

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