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November 13, 2008 3:30 PM
Posted by Benjamin J. Romano
Despite a worsening economy, all three current-generation video game consoles had better U.S. sales in October than they did a year ago, according to the latest figures from The NPD Group.
And both Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii sold more units in October, a four-week reporting period, than in September, a five-week period. Also the worst of the economic bad news had yet to hit in September. Sony, however, saw month-over-month PlayStation 3 sales decline, while sales of its previous generation (and less expensive) PlayStation 2 remained strong. Also, the PS3 saw the strongest year-over-year sales increase in October.
Nintendo was again the market leader, even though Microsoft cut prices on its Xbox 360 line in September, making its low-end model the least-cost console on the market.
By the numbers
Nintendo Wii: 803,000 in October; 13,361,000 since launch
Microsoft Xbox 360: 371,000 in October; 11,609,200 since launch
Sony PS3: 190,000 in October; 5,690,800 since launch
NPD analyst Anita Frazier, in her usual e-mailed commentary, said the games industry is still on track for a strong year, despite the economy.
"The video games industry grew an impressive 18 percent year-over-year in the first month of the critical fourth quarter," she wrote. "With 10-months under its belt, the video games industry is still poised to top $22B in annual sales in 2008.
"The sales results are mixed this month, however. The console portion of the market made significant gains at 26% across hardware, software and accessories, while the portable side of the market stalled, declining 14%. Year-to-date the portable segment of the market is still up 7%."