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Nintendo moves 1M systems in 1 week

Japanese juggernaut simultaneously shatters records in America, UK, and Japan; Fils-Aime laments stock shortages.


The 2007 holiday-shopping season is less than one week old, but console makers are already beginning to spin their sales numbers. Yesterday, Sony reported that North American PlayStation 3 sales have tripled since the period beginning November 2--when the new $399 40GB model was introduced--through November 24. Though the company didn't report exact sales numbers, extrapolation from NPD's October report puts the figure at somewhere around 322,000 units sold in the US and Canada in three weeks.

Now, Nintendo has revealed its sales figures in the US for the "Black Friday" week of November 18-24. The seven-day period was Nintendo's best ever in the US, with over 1.03 million systems sold in the 50 states. Of those, 350,000 were $249 Wiis, and 653,000 were $129 DSes. The latter figure eclipsed the record set in 2005, when over 600,000 Game Boy Advances were sold during Thanksgiving Week. On November 23, two new DS colors--rose and gold--were introduced via bundles with Nintendogs and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, respectively.

Outgoing Nintendo of America senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications George Harrison took the time to beat the corporate hype drum one last time. "As shoppers look for ways to maximize their limited holiday-spending money, they turn to gifts that can be used by the entire family," he said while presumably packing up his desk. "The Wii and Nintendo DS offer something for every member of the family." Nintendo also touted the affordability of its platforms by saying they were well suited for families hit "with higher gas prices and fuel costs."

Nintendo also reached two major milestones outside the US this week. Famitsu publisher Enterbrain is reporting that the DS has now sold 20.05 million units in Japan, thanks to the never-ending Brain Training craze still afflicting the island nation. The handheld hit the 20 million-unit mark in just three years--three years earlier than the previous fastest-selling game platform in the country, the PlayStation 2.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the warming planet, the DS was taking the UK by storm. Chart-Track--the British answer to the NPD Group--reports that over 191,000 units of the handheld were sold last week. That's more than any other platform in a seven-day period since game-hardware sales figures began to be recorded in the UK. Previously, the distinction had been held by the PlayStation Portable, which sold over 185,000 units when it went on sale in September 2005.

But, as much as Nintendo's cup runneth over, it's still not enough for Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. Speaking at a conference covered by GameSpot corporate sibling, the outspoken executive admitted that he rues the fact that many would-be Wii buyers are losing patience with the console's ongoing shortage.

"At this point, we are literally trying to catch up with demand," bemoaned Fils-Aime. "[Prospective Wii buyers] aren't going to sleep outside of a store overnight or visit a retailer five or six times. It is literally a missed opportunity."

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