PS3 outsells Wii in Japan 3:2, Wii sales down 63%

Tokyo (Japan) – Nintendo’s dominance in game console sales has taken a back seat in Japan to Sony’s PlayStation 3 this month. While Nintendo sold an impressive 99,335 units as of March 29, Sony was easily able to beat that selling 146,948 (48% more). Analysts are wondering if this trend will continue and reach Europe or the U.S.

In the United States, the Nintendo Wii has been a powerhouse seller, distancing itself greatly from PlayStation 3 sales at a nearly 3:1 ratio with 750,000 units sold in February alone, and nearly 50 million units have been sold world-wide to date, with 18.4 million units sold in the U.S. alone. Sony’s PlayStation 3 has seen 7 million in sales in the U.S. to date.

In march, Japan saw Wii sales down 63% compared to the same period last year. Sony’s PlayStation 3 sales are still well behind the Wii with a total of 3 million PS3s shipped, compared to 8 million Wiis. Some analysts are attributing the PS3 uptick to popular game titles not available on the Wii, such as Yakuza 3 and Resident Evil 5, which were both released in March in Japan.

Nintendo possibly has another ace in its pocket to increase Wii sales, however. The price of manufacturing a Wii has decreased by up to 45%, according to some reports, meaning Nintendo has some maneuvering room for a price drop should they want to increase the bottom line through more sales.

The Wii is fully compatible with GameCube discs. Some PS3 models are compatible with the earlier PS2 games, though none currently in production are backwardly compatible. This has been a major attributor to the slow adoption of PS3 consoles by many gamers who, even today, are buying the less expensive PS2 system (recently reduced in price to $99) to play enjoyable games with less money. Personally, I believe Sony shot itself in the foot by not including full backward compatibility in all models.

See Financial Times.