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In the U.S. there's a lot of talk about how the videogame industry is struggling as everyone waits for Sony Corp's (SNE) release of its PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Co's (OTCPK:NTDOY) launch of its Wii this November. In Japan it's a different story. As I reported on Tuesday per a WSJ article, "Nintendo is Quietly Stealing the Show." Third-party data published by Reuters in an article today illustrates why Nintendo's shares have risen 40+% year-to-date.

Key stats:

• Videogame software & hardware sales in Japan increased 33.6% y-o-y in 1H'06 to 277 billion yen ($2.4b)

• Nintendo's DS Lite and original DS handheld consoles were the top two selling units at 2.6 million and 1.3 million units sold, respectively

• Sony PlayStation Portable came in 3rd with just under 1 million units sold

• Nintendo had the 1st and 3rd best selling software titles: the latest version of "Brain Training for Adults" and "New Super Mario Bros"

• Japan's game software market grew 30.4% to 175 billion yen ($1.5b) in the 1st half leading to the first year-over-year growth in three years

Nintendo's weakness has been in its non-handheld consoles where Microsoft (MSFT) already has its next-generation system on the market (the Xbox 360) and seems to be doing quite well in the US and EU. Sony typically dominates the domestic Japanese market and of course has strong global sales. If interest in the Wii at E3 is any indication of how sales will go, then maybe this time Nintendo can win back some market share and continue to please shareholders.

Nintendo ordinary shares (Tokyo: 7974) gained 4.06% on Thursday to close at 20,520 yen (for an equivalent close of $22.27 for its ADRs). Nintendo's ADRs closed at $21.15 yesterday and are potentially trading at about a 1.25% discount depending on how high they trade in response to Tokyo's close and on the yen-dollar exchange rate. Its ADRs have a 52-week and multi-year high of $22.50.


Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY), Sony (SNE), and Microsoft (MSFT) 1-year chart:

Source: Nintendo Dominates First Half Game Sales in Japan (NTDOY)