Selling a Wii console at a Toys “R” Us in November.
Older consoles had a surprisingly strong December.
Demand Outpaced Supply for New Game Consoles
By MATT RICHTEL
Published: January 12, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 11 — The Xbox 360 outsold the Wii, which outsold the PlayStation 3.
That in a nutshell is how the crucial holiday shopping season went for the video game industry’s latest consoles. But that battle does not tell the whole story of a curious December.
Over all, the industry sold $3.7 billion of hardware, software and accessories in the United States last month, up from $2.9 billion in the same period a year ago. For the full year, sales were $12.5 billion, the industry’s highest-ever returns, according to widely watched figures released Thursday by NPD Group, a market research firm.
During December, Sony in particular turned in surprisingly strong sales — but not for its new PlayStation 3.
In a development that industry analysts said speaks to the strength of the video-game market and the lure of low prices, the nation’s best-selling console during the holiday season was Sony’s PlayStation 2, a six-year-old system.
Americans bought 1.4 million PlayStation 2s during the period. That was more than the Xbox 360, which sold 1.1 million units; the Nintendo Wii, which sold 604,000; and the PlayStation 3, which sold 491,000.
The sales figures for the PlayStation 3, and in particular the Wii, fell below the expectations of industry analysts.
“The biggest surprise is the Wii,” said Mike Hickey, a research analyst with Janco Partners. He said analysts had projected Nintendo would sell around 1.2 million, twice what they wound up selling. Mr. Hickey and other analysts had estimated Sony would sell 500,000 to 600,000 PlayStation 3s and Microsoft would sell 1.1 million to 1.3 million 360s.
But for Sony and Nintendo, the trouble was not demand but supply, Mr. Janco said. “It probably means that Nintendo missed its goal” of shipping four million Wiis worldwide by the end of the year, he said.
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