Nintendo Co. currently enjoying the sweet taste of success in the gaming industry, has entered the top ten of Japan's most valuable companies for the first time with a value of 6.54 trillion yen ($53 billion), surpassing its chief rival Sony Corp. in market value.
Kyoto, western Japan-based Nintendo now joins such globally renowned names as Toyota Motor, Honda Motor and Canon on the list of the 10 most valuable Japanese companies.
"Nintendo is a market leader in everything it does now, which is basically the handheld as well as console gaming market," observed Hiroshi Kamide, an analyst at KBC. "We haven't seen Nintendo being a market leader in both products for over a decade."
Shares of Nintendo jumped to a record 46,350 yen, valuing the company at 6.57 trillion yen ($53 billion), and surpassing Sony's 6.48 trillion yen capitalization in trading on Monday, as per reported by business site Bloomberg.
According to game magazine publisher Enterbrain and research firm NPD, Nintendo's Wii game console has outsold Sony's PlayStation 3 by three to one in Japan and by more than two to one in the United States so far this year.
Nintendo’s recent rise has been driven by the surging demand for its DS handheld game players and the popular Wii video game devices.
Among the trio of next generation gaming consoles, Nintendo has emerged as the numero uno in May for the fifth consecutive month after selling 338,000 units of the popular Wii 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.
The more-powerful systems, Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, in May, again lagged behind in the fierce battle for dominance in the booming gaming consoles market by moving 81,600 and 154,900 units, respectively, as per the fresh sales results provided by a market research firm, NPD Group Inc.
"It is becoming quite clear that Nintendo is taking back its market share from Sony in the console market while well defending its stronghold of portable games," said Takeshi Koyama, an analyst at Mizuho Securities.
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.
Launched in November last year, Nintendo’s Wii console retails for $US250, while PS2 costs only $129. The PS3 and Xbox 360 start at $499 and $299 , respectively, while their high-end versions are priced at $US599 and $US399(Xbox 360 Premium System) and $US479 (Xbox 360 Elite System), 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.
Sony, which has dominated the $30 billion game industry over the past decade with its PlayStation and last-generation PlayStation 2, has suffered production delays and slow sales of PS3 gaming players.
Launched late last year, PS3 is Sony Computer Entertainment's third video game console and the successor to the 7-year-old PlayStation 2 which lagged behind its chief rival Wii due to its high prices and lack of attractive software titles.
The world's biggest maker of video-game consoles, Sony is also a leading manufacturer of electronics, video, communications and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets.