Chicago (IL) – While the biggest newsmakers over the last two months may have been Nintendo and Sony, Microsoft held its own during the holiday shopping season, with a well-established stock allowing the Xbox 360 to be the unit sales winner during the final two months of 2006.
The Wii was the defined winner over the PS3 in terms of units sold. NPD, a market analyst group, estimated that nearly 1.8 million Wii consoles were sold since its launch on November 19, outpacing the PS3’s 750,000 units. However, the Xbox 360, which Amazon recorded as the top selling gift item of 2006, beat them both. NPD suggests that two million of Microsoft’s next-gen system were sold during the same November/December timeframe.
Attributed to the Xbox 360’s higher sales could be the lack of supply for both the Wii and PS3. Nintendo probably underestimated the high demand for its console, while Sony had well known production problems with the PS3. Now, however, the Wii is still near impossible to find on store shelves, while the PS3 is now easily accessible at many big box stores across the country.
With its one-year head start, the 360 is expected to own the market share leader category for a while before Nintendo or Sony has a chance to challenge Microsoft’s console. Total units for the 14-month reign of the new Xbox are in the area of 10 million, according to Microsoft’s last month projections.
Sony owned more than 50% of the market share in the last console cycle, but the new round poses a problem for the entertainment conglomerate, with buzz and praise for the Wii and Xbox 360 outpacing what was originally seen for the Gamecube and Xbox. Sony’s slow start also means that the company is on an uphill battle from the beginning, and signals what could be a complete shake-up from what was seen in the last generation.
According to today’s estimates of NexGen Wars, a website that tracks game console sales, Sony has sold about 854,000 PS3s and Nintendo about 2.2 million Wiis since launch. Microsoft is estimated to have about 9.4 million Xbox 360 units in the market.