Report: Nintendo banks $6 on each Wii sold

Forbes says console maker's budget-line console earns slim operating profit on each of the nearly 35 million consoles sold.

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For this generation of home gaming consoles, Nintendo exited the technological arms race that had fueled the industry since its inception. Rather than opting for the bleeding-edge tech specs adopted by rivals Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo built the Wii using dated technology and an innovative motion-control input scheme. The gamble, of course, has thus far paid off in spades, with the Wii's nearly 35 million units in global lifetime sales easily outpacing the Xbox 360's nearly 23 million systems and the PlayStation 3's nearly 17 million units. (GameSpot initially reported inaccurate PlayStation 3 sales figures provided by Forbes, which underestimated sales by 4 million. GameSpot regrets the error.)

Nintendo's little money maker.
Nintendo's little money maker.

In stark contrast to Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo also reaps the added benefit of making a profit on each Wii sold. Citing Macquarie Securities analyst David Gibson, financial news magazine Forbes reports that the publisher makes a $6 operating profit on each Wii sold at its $250 asking price. (Forbes incorrectly lists the Wii's price point at $260 and the PlayStation 3's price at $300.) Nintendo had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment on this figure as of press time.

Forbes goes on to note that Nintendo is besting its competitors in other ways, as well. Nintendo will reportedly be responsible for 60 percent of the 220 million games sold for the Wii this year. That stands in marked contrast to Microsoft and Sony, who respectively stand to publish 30 percent of 125 million Xbox 360 games and 15 percent of 120 million PS3 games expected to sell in 2008, according to the financial magazine.

Nintendo's operations may be hampered by a strengthening yen in the global economy, but the Japanese gaming company is still pulling in gobs of cash. Reporting on the first half of its fiscal year in October, Nintendo announced net income of ¥144.8 billion ($1.55 billion) on sales of ¥836.9 billion ($8.98 billion).

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