Nintendo has always won big in the console market, selling thousands more console units than Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's Playstation 3 – often combined. With a broader audience and cheaper price tag, the Nintendo Wii has remained the most popular console in the US, at least as far as sales are concerned. The start of the 2009 holiday shopping season marks another chapter in the eternal console wars and the big three are already butting heads.
Headlining Nintendo's holiday season is the recently reduced Wii console price – now a tasty $199, down $50 from the original release price of $249. In addition to this markdown, Nintendo is also flexing their software muscles with the release of some big titles including New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Wii Fit Plus. Both games are sure to fly off the shelves either as gifts or long awaited additions to your humble Nintendo Wii collection.
Despite these exciting incentives Nintendo's estimated sales numbers for the opening holiday shopping weekend fell short of last year's numbers. Nintendo announced that is sold roughly 550,000 Wii consoles this year, compared to 800,000 in 2008. Is this a grim sign for Nintendo as the internet news circus has started spouting? Probably not. In fact, the numbers are still very good. They are on par or beyond sales numbers that we expect from Microsoft and Sony.
Exactly why the Nintendo Wii saw fewer sales this holiday season is uncertain. Some speculate that it is due to the economy. Others would say that is impossible because of the reduced Nintendo Wii console cost. In either case, $199 is a "big present" that can dig into family budgets. The most realistic analysis of this holiday trend is that the audience that is still interested in purchasing the Wii consists primarily of casual gamers that are more aware of the money they have to spend this season. Its no secret that the Nintendo Wii has had trouble delivering quality titles amidst the slew of cheap software that has been available since the console's release, but expect to see sales remain steady or slightly improved throughout the next few weeks as those new popular titles become harder to find.
Another strong sign of Nintendo's success this holiday season resides in the portable console market. The DS and DSi handhelds reportedly sold over 1 million units during the opening holiday weekend. This is an improvement over last years sales which totaled roughly 800,000. Nintendo's dedication to new-age portable gaming has made them a leader in sales and also delivers gamers of all ages some incredible titles that continue the success of previous console generations including the Game Boy Advance. Expect Nintendo to continue dominating sales in this area throughout the holidays.
Who will come out on top in terms of console and software sales this season is a tough prediction. There are many big name titles being released across almost every major platform, including PC. Holiday gamers will have more choices than ever this year, so its time to pick your side.
| New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) | Wii Fit Plus (Wii) |
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