Since last year, the Wii and DS have been the two top-selling platforms in the US, according to sales figures from the NPD Group. However, Nintendo's reign appears to be coming to an end in Japan, where both its console and handhelds are locked in a fierce battle with rival devices from Sony. On the portable front, the PSP beat the DSi on the Media Create sales charts last week, 41,200 units to 37,500 units. However, the DS Lite sold 6,400 units, bringing the total DS sales to 43,900 units.
Less closely contested is the console matchup, which saw the Wii lose to the PlayStation 3 for the second month in a row in April. According to sales figures provided to Reuters by Enterbrain, the industry-tracking company that publishes Famitsu magazine, the PS3 sold 108,530 units in Japan in the four weeks before April 26--down from 146,948 the month before. By contrast, the Wii sold just 67,116 units of the Wii, down from its 99,335 March total--a 63 percent fall from March 2008.
Even before today's report, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata conceded that Wii sales were "unhealthy" in his home country. The Wall Street Journal went as far as to quote analysts who called the Kyoto-based game giant--once Japan's second-most valuable corporation--as "vulnerable." Nintendo, though, has taken steps to invigorate its console's appeal by adding new features. This week, it launched the Wii no Ma video service (see below), which lets players download video content and either watch it on their consoles or transfer it to the new DSi handheld.