Nintendo powers ahead in console wars

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Nintendo powers ahead in console wars

Cumulative sales of Nintendo's Wii console have overtaken that of the Xbox 360, despite Microsoft's 12-month head start on its Japanese rival, according to a recent report in the Financial Times.

The report is based on the combined sales figures from each console's launch date through to the end of July, and to the end of August in Japan.

The figures were obtained from market watchers Enterbrain in Japan, NPD Group in the US and GfK in Europe.

Nintendo's Wii came out ahead with nine million sales, a fraction over the Xbox 360's 8.9 million, and both significantly trouncing Sony's 3.7 million PlayStation 3 sales.

Analysts and commentators put the Wii's tremendous success down to its lower price and its broad appeal to non-gamers.

However, some observers have questioned the Wii's long-term viability owing to its relatively low hardware specifications and low-resolution output when compared to its rivals.

"Despite the Xbox's earlier launch in November 2005, it only sells in two markets: Europe and the US," said an unnamed Japanese analyst.

"Japan is home turf to Sony and Nintendo, so the Xbox is not a player at all. In contrast, Nintendo has been selling well in all three major markets."

Nintendo's huge success with the Wii and the DS has seen its share price climb in recent months, jumping over 5.5 per cent to ¥55,400 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange close on 14 September.

The company's share price doubled last year, and analysts at research group CLSA are now predicting that worldwide sales of the DS will surpass 30 million, and sales of the Wii to hit 20 million, even higher than Nintendo's own predictions.

Nintendo has also revealed that European sales of More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima are close to the one million mark just 11 weeks after release, and that Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl have sold approximately 1.6 million units in just seven weeks.

However, it is not all good news for Nintendo. George Harrison, the firm's North American vice president of marketing, will be leaving at the end of the year when Nintendo US moves its sales and marketing departments from Washington to New York and San Francisco.
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