By Carl HoweThe data here is still a little sketchy, and we should get a better read at the end of the day Thursday when NPD releases its sales numbers for video game consoles. But by my estimates on the data I have available, Nintendo's (OTC:NTDOY) Wii gaming console outsold Sony's (SNE) Playstation 3 and tied Microsoft's (MSFT) XBox 360 in November. The Wii's success against XBox 360 is particularly interesting, because the Wii was on sale only for 11 days and in limited quantities. The Playstation 3 also was available for only 13 days, while the XBox 360 doesn't currently have any supply constraints and was available all 30 days.
The numbers as best I can come up with so far are as follows:
The 'Big 3' game consoles side by side
Why the 600,000 estimate for XBox 360 when other analysts are up around 750,000? Well, for one thing, it's not new, so it gets no bump from a launch event like Sony and Nintendo did. Further, using Microsoft's own data, shipping 600,000 in November would equal the monthly rate of its best selling quarter ever (calendar Q2 of this year). And in the most recent calendar quarter, Microsoft only shipped an average of 300,000 an month. So it they made 600,000, they doubled their typical rate.
But the best argument for a somewhat tepid November, even with Black Friday in there, is that Microsoft did relatively little marketing of the console. If we look at an article published by the In-Store Marketing Institute, we find significantly more and broader marketing programs for both the Ninendo and Sony products. And as we all know (or should know), marketing drives sales.
We'll have some additional data points in the next few days. But for the moment, Nintendo's Wii appears to be setting the pace for next-generation (or now that they are all launched, current-generation) gaming platforms this Christmas.
MSFT-SNE-NTDOY.PK comparison chart since Nov. 1: