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November NPD Sales: Nintendo Triumphant

| 12 Dec 2008 01:45
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Nintendo Wii manages to sell a mind-blowing 2 million units in the month of November while Microsoft stands firm and Sony tanks.

According to print media, cable news networks and the US government, we're not only in the middle of a global, economic recession, but the worst financial situation since the Great Depression. Yet, amidst this absolutely terrible, spirit-crushing financial death spiral, Nintendo manages to sell 2.04 million units of its Wii console in the month of November. I think we now know where all our money is going.

Yes, in the biggest month for US consumer activity it was Nintendo coming out on top of the retail charts, not at all contradicting the last 24 months. Not only did Nintendo Wii see sales of 2.04 million units (trumping Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan's prediction of 1.4 million), but the handheld Nintendo DS was no slouch either with 1.57 million units sold. These numbers while impressive also serve the purpose of proving Nintendo's philosophy on titles selling strong over time as opposed to only the first month or so. Lacking any true AAA holiday games, Nintendo dominated the market with aging titles such as Wii Play (796k units) and Wii Fit (697k units), continuing their strong performances and placing second and third respectively in overall software sales.

As with everything in this universe of ours, there can not be great victories without great failures and Sony's November performance is proof enough. In a a month where total industry sales are up 22% year-to-date, Sony failed to sell more consoles on any of its three platforms when compared to November 2007. Starting with the PlayStation 3, Sony managed to sell 378k units in the month of November 2008, while in the same month one year ago, it sold 466k for a difference of 88k. The story continues with the PlayStation 2 (496k in 2007 versus 206k in 2008) and the PlayStation Portable (567k in 2007 versus 421k in 2008), which is even more disappointing when you consider the overall strong holiday line-up across all three Sony systems.

These numbers weren't entirely out of the bounds of expectation as Sony is still struggling with its overall pricing scheme. It also wasn't a particularly bright idea to offer a new, $499 PlayStation 3 bundle in the middle of a global recession when your main competition decided to slash its prices.

As for Microsoft it was business as usual, sporting strong but not particularly outstanding sales for its Xbox 360 platform, coming in at 836k units, effectively doubling PlayStation 3 sales for the fourth month in a row. Speaking of multiplied sales, Microsoft's holiday flagship, Gears of War 2, topped software sales with 1.56 million copies sold, which is four times as many as Sony's top holiday shooter Resistance 2, which sold only 385k.

Overall it was a fantastic month for a retail industry that absolutely refuses to waver in the face of such harsh economic times with sales totaling $2.91 billion for November, a nearly 10% increase compared to last year.

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