Recession? What recession? – Nintendo

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Recession? What recession? – Nintendo

Chicago (IL) – Microsoft last week proudly announced that it creamed the PS3 it Thanksgiving sales at a ratio of 3:1. Some wondered why Microsoft left out a comparison to the Nintendo Wii and had doubts about Microsoft’s thoughts that the Wii isn’t really a competitor for the Xbox 360. Here is another possible explanation: Apparently, the Wii creamed the Xbox by a factor of more than 2:1 and the PS3 by about 5:1.

As people are cutting back on their Christmas shopping lists, we get news about revenue warnings almost on an hourly basis these days, but we also seem to find those reports about companies that may be recession-proof. And at least until now, Nintendo seems to be such a company. The reason: The Wii is selling like hotcakes anyway and now seems to be profiting from the economic environment even more. Not only is it believed that video games will benefit from the economic downturn as people will focus on entertainment at home, but Nintendo thinks that the Wii is on the top of Christmas shopping lists anyway and people may only be buying the top item this year – instead of the top three.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata told Reuters in an interview that the company sold about 800,000 Wiis during the Thanksgiving week, which is not only more than twice of what the company sold in the same period of last year (350,000), but also more than twice of the estimated 380,000 – 390,000 Xbox 360 units and at least five times the volume of the estimated 120,000 – 130,000 PS3s. Nintendo said that DS sales were up 20% compared to Thanksgiving 2007.

“When the economy is strong, people tend to buy three things from the top of their wish list. But when things are bad, people often buy only the first thing on their list,” Iwata told Reuters. “Fortunately for us a lot of shoppers put our products at the top of their list.”

Iwata said sales of its DS handheld were up about 20 percent during the Thanksgiving holiday week in the U.S. compared with a year earlier.

More detailed unit sales estimates for all three game consoles are scheduled to be released later this week by NPD, but it seems that Microsoft and Nintendo are on track to beat their 2007 numbers: Microsoft sold about 770,000 Xbox 360 units in November of last year, while Nintendo shipped 981,000 Wiis in the same time frame. Sony sold 466,000 PS3s in November 2007 and may have a tough time hitting the same result again.