The Nintendo Wii came from left of centre when everyone in the gaming industry was least expecting it. Now both Sony and Microsoft have a formidable competitor which according to the latest sales figures is cleaning up the games market. The final numbers are in, and in terms of unit sales, the Wii is clear winner of the holiday shopping battle, with estimates claiming that Nintendo’s console is outselling the PS3 at a rate of two to one.
A big winner in the battle is retail store group JB Hi Fi, following a decision by Nintendo Australia to not supply most Harvey Norman stores across Australia.
The success of the Wii comes as a huge surprise to many, after Nintendo essentially conceded the battle of the last generation to Microsoft and Sony. The unconventional motion-sensitive controller, combined with the weird name, also set many to thinking that the Wii would keep Nintendo in third place.
However, as Nintendo continued to reveal details about the Wii, and after more people got hands-on time with the console, it became more heralded and landed a spot at the top of the holiday sales list.
“Nintendo seems to have stolen the high ground in terms of playability and entertainment value. Nintendo seems to be surfing this wave of public interest and this idea of accessibility that they started with Nintendogs and these brain games,” said Forrester Research analyst Paul Jackson.
Although Sony had critical problems in production of the console, lackluster reviews and the obtrusively high price also impeded holiday sales. As the Wii continued to gain buzz over the PS3, online discussions of where to find Sony’s console became overshadowed by parents desperately trying to discover where to buy a Wii for Christmas, in addition to gamers looking to get one for themselves.
Pricing could also become one of the more critical issued in the third generation console war. A fully functional PS3, equipped with two or three games, as well as a $100+ HDMI cable, can break the $1000 barrier at the cash register. And that even assumes that you already have that 720p/1080i/1080p HDTV to be able to enjoy games and Blu-ray movies in high-def. A full Wii experience, which does not provide HD resolutions, can be had for less than a third of the PS3s price.
Currently, though, the Xbox 360 holds the most next-gen market share, after having a one year head start. Microsoft has said that 10 million units will have been shipped by the end of the year. That is significantly more than the Wii, four million of which Nintendo is hoping to get in the marketplace by early next year. At this early point, Sony, the dominating champion in the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube war, is currently trailing behind both of its competitors.