Wii Sales Beat PS3 in the $30B Video-game Wars in December: NPD Group

Nintendo sold 604,200 of its new Wii video game consoles in the United States in December, beating Sony, which sold 490,700 units of its new PlayStation 3, according to retail sales on the  seventh-generation video-game systems by market-research firm NPD. 

Microsoft (MSFT) sold 1.1 million Xbox 360 video game consoles in December. Microsoft's console debuted in November 2005, a full year ahead of the Wii and PS3.  

Sony sold 1.4 million units of the PS2, the current leader in the global console market. NPD says one reason for the PlayStation 2’s relative success is that its $129 sales price is considerably less than that of the Wii, at $249, the Xbox 360, at $299 or $399, depending on the model, and the PlayStation 3, at $499 or $599.

Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are locked in a battle for the top spot in the $30 billion industry's new console war. 

  • Overall video game and hardware sales were jumped 28% to $3.7 billion in December. Overall sales rose 19% in 2006 to $12.5 billion, NPD said.
  • Game sales, not including titles for personal computers, were up 5.4% to $1.7 billion
  • Hardware sales jumped 59.2% to $1.6 billion, fueled by sales of consoles like the high-end PS3 ($600) and Xbox 360 ($400) in the United States.
  • Sony had a record month in December, with total U.S. sales of $1.6 billion.
  • The NPD numbers also showed Xbox 360 life-to-date U.S. sales were 4.5 million. Microsoft said it had shipped 10.4 million Xbox 360 units worldwide by the end of 2006.
  • Among hand-held players, 1.6 million Nintendo DS units and 953,200 PlayStation Portables were sold during the holidays. 

The top-selling games:

  • For the No.1 game,  "Gears of War" for the Xbox 360, sales reached 815,700 in December and should top 3 million in total by next week, according to NPD. 
  • Activision's (ATVI)  "Guitar Hero II" for the Sony's market-leading PlayStation 2 was the second-biggest seller in December, with unit sales of 805,200.
  • Electronic Arts Inc.'s (ERTS) "Madden NFL 07," also for the PS2, landed in third place, selling 737,100 copies.
  • For all of 2006, the top-selling console game was Madden NFL 07 for the PlayStation 2 from Electronic Arts, which sold 2.8 million copies.

Over all, Microsoft has sold 4.5 million Xbox 360s in the United States since the console was introduced in November 2005. Since their introductions last November, PlayStation 3 has sold 687,000 consoles and Wii, 1.1 million, NPD reported.

Sources and related commentary:

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