According to a new report from American Technology Research's PJ McNealy sent to investors late yesterday, his survey of U.S. retailers has revealed that many retailers had PlayStation 3 consoles in stock, whereas none that he could find currently had Nintendo's Wii for sale.
McNealy's research note, as reported on by Reuters, reveals: "Our channel checks yesterday of 52 retail stores, from boutiques to big-box retailers, showed that 28 of the 52 stores had PS3 consoles in stock, while none had Wii consoles in stock."
However, the ATR analyst went on to note that most stores only had a handful of PlayStation 3 units for sale, but with one major retailer having more than 60 machines available - suggesting that it may not be symptomatic of lower demand for the PS3.
Nonetheless, Sony's Dave Karraker was put in the position of having to defend the PS3's demand to Reuters, commenting to them: "It isn't because demand has weakened, it is because we have kept the supply pipeline moving."
As for empirical sales data for PlayStation 3 and Wii, the current North American statistics are the NPD charts for December, which revealed that the severely supply-constricted PlayStation 3 was found to have sold through 490,700 units for the period, with 687,300 units sold since its launch in November.
However, the Wii had sold 604,200 units for the month, putting its total North American number sold at 1.1 million units. Thus far, it's unclear whether the PS3 bottleneck has cleared, flooding more machines into the market than can be swiftly picked up by consumers, or whether the PS3 is simply less desired - a situation which will only be canonically explained by the January NPD results in early February.
However, with Karraker indicating that 100,000 units per week are being flown in to North American stores, and Nintendo keeping quiet on exact shipping amounts on a week-by-week basis, further channel checks, combined with NPD data, should provide a much clearer picture early next month.