Game console holiday sales data compiled by market research firm NPD Group revealed a surprising winner. The Sony PlayStation 2, not the PS3 or other "next-gen" consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox 360 or Nintendo's Wii, was the top-seller. An NPD analyst credited the PS2's $129 price as the key sales driver, compared to the PS3 which costs $499-$599. The cheapest next-gen console is the Wii, priced at $249. NPD estimates 1.4 million PS2s were sold in December, followed by 1.1m Xbox 360s, 604k Wiis and 491k PS3s. The sales figures for the newest consoles missed analyst estimates, but it was not for a lack of demand. According to GameStop, the Wii is still in short supply and flying off the shelf when replenished. However, there is said to be "tons of" PS3s in stores now, according to Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter. He comments, "I don't think consumers are aware of it because there hasn't been much advertising."
• Sources: Bloomberg, NY Times
• Related commentary: Game Points: Game Console and Software Stock Update, Video Game Console Makers Meet '06 Targets, GameStop Holiday Sales Impress, Nintendo Ups Guidance and Boosts Dividend; Wii Sales Crush PS3 in Japan
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Microsoft (MSFT), Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY), Sony (SNE), GameStop (GME). Gaming software publishers: Electronic Arts (ERTS), Activision (ATVI), Konami (KNM), Take Two (TTWO), THQ (THQI)
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