Wii, Xbox 360 leave the PS3 behind

  • Chicago (IL) – Market research firm NPD released its latest game console shipment estimate for the U.S. Both the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360 showed sharp upticks, while the PS3 gained significantly less – and has not gained any ground on Microsoft Xbox 360 since its launch almost two years ago.

    Microsoft Nintendo hardware sales benefitted once more from successful game titles in September. The best selling title for the month was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (610,000 units), which helped lift Xbox 360 sales by more than 75% from 195,200 in August to 347,200 units in September, according to NPD. The Wii climbed from a weak 453,000 units in August to 687,000 units on strong sales of its Wii Fit game and accessory, which sold 518,000 times during the month.

    Slowly but surely, Sony may be concerned about its PS3. In comparison to its rivals, sales have been weakening over the past three months. In September, the PS3 saw the smallest sales increase, from 185,400 units in August to 232,400 in September. The most successful game for the PS3 came in at the #5 spot: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed sold 325,000 units. The PS3 had only one top 10 game in September, while the Xbox 360 had five and the Wii had four.

    Let’s look at the current market shares in the game console market:

    Nintendo has solidified its market share of more than 50% and stood at 54.2% in September. Microsoft increased its share to 27.4%, while Sony dropped to 18.3%.

    In September 2007, the Xbox 360 led the market with 46.0% share, followed by the Wii with 43.6% and the PS3 with 10.4%.

    Read on the next page: Combined sales, lifetime sales

    Overall game console sales swung back strongly in September, ending up at 1,266,000 units, according to NPD. In September of 2007, shipments were 1,147,800 units. There are some parallels to last year, with Microsoft having a strong and Sony a weak month.

    Lifetime sales for the Wii are now 12.7 million, for the Xbox 360 11.2 million and for the PS3 5.5 million. If you look closely, it is apparent, that the PS3 has not been able to close the gap with the Xbox 360 – despite the fact that the Xbox 360 is clearly the aging console in the market and it lacks a Blu-ray drive. It speaks for Microsoft’s strategists to keep the Xbox 360 attractive enough against the PS3.

    Sony, however, needs to come up with new ideas to increase the appeal of its console. At least for now, the PS3 is left in the dust.