updated 04:10 pm EDT, Fri April 18, 2008
Wii Leads March NPD Sales
Nintendo's Wii console continues to be the strongest-selling of all systems a year and a half after its launch, according to March statistics from The NPD Group. The organization says that about 720,000 examples of the motion-driven Wii were sold last month, helped in part by both its lower $250 price and the launch of the first Super Smash Brothers game for the platform. The result is nearly three times the 262,000 Xbox 360s sold and a slightly larger increase again over the PlayStation 3, which was near-equal at 257,000 systems sold.
Handheld game systems also fared better than the two less successful TV-based consoles, The Nintendo DS sold nearly as many units in March as the Wii at 698,000 devices, while the more expensive but more feature-laden PSP sold 297,000 examples over the same period.
While Sony's PS3 fared the poorest of the collection, the company nonetheless touts the sales number as a major improvement and notes that it sold 98 percent more of the Blu-ray systems in March 2008 than it did the year before. Sony's sales boosts in recent months have been widely credited both to the launch of a $399 40GB model and the end to the format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD, which has encouraged more users to buy into the Sony-backed Blu-ray format for movies as well as games.
Sales numbers are expected to change radically by the end of this month, as the simultaneous launch of Grand Theft Auto 4 for the PS3 and Xbox 360 is predicted to trigger at least a minor spike in sales of the systems to gamers either trading up from older consoles or buying additional current-generation systems.