Nintendo's grip on the videogame market has never been more evident than last Thursday, when the NPD Group released sales data for
November, the first month of the 2008 holiday shopping season.
Consumers purchased 2 million Wii consoles, 1.5 million Nintendo DS
handhelds, and more than $700 million of software for the two
This isn't to say there weren't bright spots for Sony and Microsoft, but they're much smaller
accomplishments by comparison. Furthermore, even dominant software
publishers like Electronic Arts are having difficulty finding a
market for their newest wares.
Overall industry sales for the month were up 10 percent, and year-on-year and year-to-date sales are still up 22 percent, but much of that
growth was realized earlier in 2008. Analysts
had expected the industry to reach a total annual revenue of $22 - $24
billion, but it now appears that the industry may not even reach the
low end of that range.
Raw Hardware Data
According to the NPD Group's data, 2.04 million Nintendo Wii
consoles were sold during the four-week tracking period ending 29
November 2008. No platform in history has ever sold as many systems
in November as the Wii did this year.
Microsoft's Xbox 360 enjoyed robust sales of 836,000 systems, a
year-on-year increase of 8.6 percent. Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst
Michael Pachter, has said that the system's average sale price (ASP)
during November was $270. That marks a slight decrease from September
and October, and indicates that the $200 Xbox 360 Arcade model is
attracting more consumers.
Sony sold 378,000 PlayStation 3 systems during the month, a
disappointing decrease from last year's total of 466,000 systems.
Sony currently offers the highest-priced console (from $400 to $500,
depending on the specifications) -- and is consequently selling fewer
It is standard to compare average weekly sales rates to account
for the different number of weeks in the monthly tracking periods.
Console unit sales often more than double from October to
November, and in fact Xbox 360 sales were up 120 percent from the previous
month and Wii sales were up 154 percent. The PlayStation 3 just missed
doubling its October sales, with a growth of just 98 percent month-on-month.
The only other system not to double its October sales in November
was the PlayStation 2, which saw an increase of only 51 percent. Nintendo DS
sales jumped 220 percent from the prior month and PlayStation Portable (PSP)
sales were up 118 percent.