Money Matters - Simplified

Wii on winning spree, scores fourth consecutive win over rivals

Among the trio of next generation gaming consoles, Nintendo has emerged as the numero uno in April for the fourth consecutive month after selling 360,000 of the popular video game devices in the United States, repeatedly outshining both its rivals Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 in the US video game consoles market.

After attaining the top position in the first three months of the year, Nintendo has once again performed exceptionally well by selling nearly four times as many Wiis as Sony sold PlayStation 3s and more than twice as many as Microsoft did Xbox 360s, a market research firm, NPD Group Inc. said.

According to fresh sales results provided by NPD, US gamers bought 360,000 units of the wii console last month, making it the best-selling video game console in the country.

The more-powerful systems, Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 lagged behind in the fierce battle for dominance in the booming gaming consoles market by moving 82,000 and 174,000 units, respectively.

Nintendo sold 436,000 Wii video game consoles in January, while Xbox 360 sold 294,000 and Sony's PlayStation 3 sold 244,000 units.

In February, US gamers bought 335,000 Wii consoles and 228,000 of Microsoft's Xbox 360, while Sony's PlayStation 3 consoles managed 127,000 units.

In March, Nintendo shipped 259,000 Wii video game consoles, while Microsoft and Sony managed 199,000 and 130,000 units, respectively.

In the hand-held category, Nintendo DS remained the most popular game system of any kind in April, with impressive sales of 471,000 units, ahead of PlayStation Portable, or PSP, with 183,000 units. Nintendo DS is a portable game player that is still selling briskly more than two years after its introduction.

Although, Sony's last-generation PlayStation 2 has outshined Xbox 360 in April by selling 194,000 units, but compared to its last three months’ sales data PS2 did not do well this month.

Sony's 7-year-old gaming console moved 299,000 machines in January 295,000 in February and 280,000 units in March.

After reigning as the champ of hardware sales in United States, Nintendo ruled the software game charts too, with the top four best-selling games belonging to the company.

Games for Nintendo DS, took the top two spots, followed by two games for the Wii.

The four Nintendo titles are: ‘Pokemon Diamond’ and ‘Pokemon Pearl’ for the DS that sold 1.04 million and 712,000 units respectively. ‘Super Paper Mario’ for the Wii came in third with 352,000 games sold in April, while ‘Wii Play With Remote’ recorded 249,000 sales during the month.

"Nothing is more valuable in the entertainment world than an evergreen franchise," says Reggie Fils-Aime, president and COO, Nintendo of America. "These new Pokémon titles have cemented their place alongside the most enduring intellectual properties of the book, music and movie industries. And that appeal will expand even further with the introduction of Pokémon Battle Revolution to our Wii home console next month."

The overall market of video game hardware and software came up with booming results.

Total U.S. sales of video games and hardware reached $838.6 million, a 20% increase from April 2006 ($699 million), according to figures sent Friday from the NPD Group.

However, the sales were down from $1.1 billion in March.

After observing the fresh NPD sales data, it seems that consumers still reacting well to lower cost consoles. Launched in November last year, Nintendo’s Wii console retails for $US250, while PS2 costs only $129.

Xbox 360 and the PS3 start at $299 and $599, respectively, while their high-end versions are priced at $US400 and $US600, respectively.

Besides Nintendo console's U.S. price, which is just half the cost of the least-expensive version of PS3, its motion-sensitive controller that has been popular with mainstream gamers as well as new audiences like senior citizens and very young children has helped build buzz for the machine, and made it more appealing to some consumers.

The three companies are locked in a fierce battle for dominance in the $13 billion U.S. video game market.