Wii takes lead in January

[UPDATE] Nintendo's "new-gen" console sells 435,503 units in US in five weeks, besting the 360's 294,000 units and the PS3's 243,554; DS tops portables.

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Last December, the Xbox 360 was the best-selling next-generation console in the US, moving more than 1.1 million units. In second place was Nintendo's "new-gen" device, the Wii, with 604,200 units. Pulling up the rear was Sony's supply-constrained PlayStation 3 with 490,700 units sold--a shortcoming ameliorated by the fact that 1.4 million PlayStation 2s sold during the month.

299,352 units in January? Is this the Guitar Hero II effect or just people being very late to the party?
299,352 units in January? Is this the Guitar Hero II effect or just people being very late to the party?

This week, industry-research firm NPD released its figures for "January"--which was in fact a five-week period from December 31, 2006, to February 3, 2007. During the so-called month, the Wii pulled ahead of the Xbox 360 in the US. According to figures released by both companies, Nintendo's upstart machine moved 435,503 units, compared to 294,000 units of Microsoft's 15-month-old console.

But while the cardinals of Redmond still retain second-place bragging rights in the new console contest, that may soon change. With blue laser diode production problems apparently behind it, Sony has begun to breathe down Microsoft's neck. The Japanese electronics giant claims it sold 243,554 PS3s in the US during the extended January reporting period.

Sony Computer Entertainment was bullish in a statement. "Tie ratios for [the] PS3 have improved by 80 percent since launch and should continue to climb with the release of the much-anticipated MotorStorm from SCEA and Virtua Fighter 5 from Sega," it said.

In the grander scope of things, NPD (by way of several analyst reports) now states that, as of February 3, around 4.8 million Xbox 360s, 1.5 million Wiis, and 933,000 PS3s have been sold in the US.

[UPDATE] As for the PS2, it kept on truckin' as well, moving 299,352 units--a year-on-year increase of 20 percent. Many analysts speculated the console's continuing good fortune was a combination of its cheap price and the fact that it is needed to play the runaway hit Guitar Hero II. NPD reported that just 34,000 GameCubes sold during the month, and did not even bother reporting sales figures for the original Xbox--tossing another shovelful of dirt into the platform's grave.

On the portable front, the Nintendo DS was king (shocker), selling 239,000 units during the five-week January period. The PSP came in second with 211,000 units, followed by the Game Boy Advance with 179,000 units.

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