Holiday sales figures for gaming console hardware were
predictable. Nintendo Wii was at the top, Xbox 360 somewhere in the middle and
the PlayStation 3 near the bottom. But 2008 is a new year and so far looks
nothing at all like 2007 – except, of course, the Wii is still number one.
Nintendo’s console sold the most in North America with
274,000 units, likely still selling out whatever is shipped to retailers.
Believe it or not, second place belongs to the PlayStation
3, selling 269,000, just 5,000 fewer units than the Wii. The PS2 wasn’t far
behind either, with 264,000.
The handheld systems occupied places fourth and fifth, with
the Nintendo DS moving 251,000 and the PSP doing 230,000.
Surprisingly, the Xbox 360 tied for last place with 230,000
units for the month. Microsoft told the press before the release of NPD data that
its console recently experienced shortages.
"You could say we misjudged demand ... We're literally
out of stock in many stores," Jeff Bell, head of global marketing for
Microsoft's games business, said in Reuters story.
"We think this will have an impact on our sales. It may cause the overall
industry number to be down a little bit ... Retailers have been really upset,
they are on allocation. It is a lag I think we're seeing in January and that
may continue into February, then as spring ramps up, we'll be able to meet that
Sony, on the other hand, appeared to be exceptionally
pleased at its excellent placement in January. The PlayStation 3 finds itself
in unfamiliar territory being near the top. One possible explanation could be
that the Warner Bros. announcement regarding exclusive Blu-ray Disc support
pushed those on the fence to finally pick up a PlayStation 3. Another reason
could be that, with the PS3 being the bottom seller during December 2007, there
was still plenty of stock remaining in retail channels to make up for shortages
of other systems.
Regardless, Sony was happy to boast that its PlayStation
brand as a whole generated the most U.S. retail dollars in the industry with
$486 million, 25 percent higher than Nintendo and 61 percent higher than
“Coming off a great holiday sales season we see strong
momentum behind PS3 in 2008,and feel confident about the year ahead. We have an
exceptionally diverse lineup of exclusive games, from Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, Metal Gear Solid 4 and Resistance 2 to more mainstream games such as LittleBigPlanet and SingStar,”
Said Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America. “Beyond that, we
have Blu-ray emerging as the de facto high def standard, the developer
community is hitting their stride, consumers are recognizing the tremendous
value and innovative services such as PlayStation Home are all in the works, so
this is definitely shaping up to be a breakthrough year for us.”
Despite January being a typically slower month in the
videogame industry, the first month of 2008 was up 18 percent as compared to
the same period last year, with games leading at 50 percent higher. Overall,
the U.S. games industry pulled in $1.18 billion in sales during January.