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January Game Sales Explode, Wii Dominates 478

njkid1, as he does from time to time, passed us a link to a story on the GameDaily site. Today they're discussing the January NPD numbers for the games industry. In short, they're terrific. Software sales totaled $549 million for the month, up a staggering 53 percent over last year. Hardware sales were brisk as well, with the Wii selling around 436,000 units. Trailing behind were Microsoft and Sony, with 360 hitting 294,000 units sold and the PS3 selling 244,000 units. January had an extra week, which resulted in 'inflated' sales, but even after normalizing the data things were tremendous for the games industry in a month where there's normally a post-holiday slump.
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January Game Sales Explode, Wii Dominates

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  • The killer stat (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hawthorne01 ( 575586 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:05PM (#18100118)
    "Wii's total software sales reached almost a million units at 977,225, while total PS3 software sales came in at 662, 847."

    Sony loses money on each PS/3, in the hopes that they'll make it up with licensing fees from the games they sell.

    Nintendo doesn't. AFAIK, they've yet to sell any of their consoles at a loss in an effort to gain marketshare.

    So Sony is losing money to Nintendo on the front end (hardware) and the back end (software).

    That's gonna hurt...
  • Hopefully... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KenshoDude ( 1001993 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:09PM (#18100182)
    With the Wii's success, one could only hope that developers will start paying more attention to gameplay innovation rather than graphical innovation. I think the success of Nintendo's new console underscores a revolution that has been waiting to take place in the gaming industry: an emphasis on playability and fun over impressive visuals. Now, if we could just combine next-gen visuals with next-gen gameplay -- a gamers' nirvana!
  • What's that? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:13PM (#18100256) Journal
    The least expensive console sold the most units? WOW!!!

    Good news for the rest of us: those expensive consoles are going drop prices quick or be forgotten. Consumers win when things like this get reported.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:14PM (#18100270)
    You are right, but you are also arguing against a zealot. The Nintendo fans are diehards and they exult in any Nintendo success. Also, they seem weirdly convinced that great graphics and fantastic gameplay are mutually exclusive.

    Once the good games start rolling out for the PS3, and people realise that immersive graphics can only improve gaming, then the PS3 will come into its own, and the Wii will look like what it actually is: a great system for kids and people who want the console equivalent of party games. It's an honourable niche to fill.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:41PM (#18100598)
    The most interesting number to me in this report is that the Wii beat out the real 800 pound gorilla, Sony's PS2. While I've been a proponent of not calling off the console race until after the next holiday season, I'm surprised that the Wii is already outselling the PS2. If they keep this up over the next couple of months, I'll be ready to declare the Wii the winner and champion of this round of console sales. Sony has yet to move more PS3s off the shelves than PS2s for a single month. Not even the XBOX 360 has managed to outsell the PS2 on a regular basis despite being out for over a year and having what now amounts to a good catalog of games.

    February's numbers should be interesting.

  • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:46PM (#18100692) Journal
    From Kotaku:

    http://kotaku.com/gaming/nintendo/hardware-wars-ds -wii-continue-to-print-yen-237481.php [kotaku.com]

    Here are the current hardware sales in the land of the rising sun for the week of February 4th to the 11th.

            * Nintendo DS Lite - 201,177
            * Wii - 78,550
            * PSP - 32,175
            * PLAYSTATION 3 - 23,431
            * PlayStation 2 - 16,033
            * Xbox 360 - 4,811
            * Game Boy Advance SP - 980
            * Game Boy micro - 884

    I rather like the comment which noted the following:

    Wii Sales > PSP sales + PS3 sales + PS2 sales + 360 sales + GBA sales + Micro sales

    DS Sales > Wii Sales + PSP sales + PS3 sales + PS2 sales + 360 sales + GBA sales + Micro sales

  • by EGSonikku ( 519478 ) <<petersen.mobile> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:47PM (#18100698)
    So I want to make sure I have this right?

    Wii is outselling PS3 almost 4:1
    For every 1 PS3 there are almost 10 Xbox 360's

    Sony = awesome? /Pre-emptive fanboy defense:
    http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/2946/egsonikkuw p3ht8.jpg [imageshack.us]
  • Re:Hopefully... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by evilbessie ( 873633 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:07PM (#18100964)
    I think Nintendo have it right, not everybody has a HDTV just yet, but they do have a TV and the Wii is by all accounts FUN for all the family. So By using old tech comparitively they have developed a system people want. And by not spunking all that money on HD graphics this generation they can spend the time and money developing the console for a Wii 2 with HD graphics in 4 or 5 years time when more people will have the capability to use them to the full potential. Meanwhile the 360 and PS3 spent huge amounts of money developing new tech which will be old tech by the time the HD Wii comes out, saving Nintendo huge amounts of development costs. Plus the format war will either be all over or dual format players will be cheap enough to include these on the next console.
  • by ElleyKitten ( 715519 ) <kittensunrise@gmaCOUGARil.com minus cat> on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:11PM (#18101026) Journal

    You are right, but you are also arguing against a zealot. The Nintendo fans are diehards and they exult in any Nintendo success. Also, they seem weirdly convinced that great graphics and fantastic gameplay are mutually exclusive.
    Actually, it's more that great graphics and an affordable system are mutually exclusive. I don't have $500 or $600 to spend on a game system. Even if I get a 360 (I like it, but it's still a little too expensive) it doesn't look all that impressive on a standard TV (I've heard some games don't even size the text to be legible on SD) and I just do not have the money for an HDTV. However, the Wii is perfect for my old TV. That's why I'm a Nintendo fan. I still play my ps2, though.
  • by trdrstv ( 986999 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:23PM (#18101204)
    The FF series from 7 onward have had a pretty huge focus on eye-candy. Its pretty hard for me to imagine the main line of FF games moving to any console that doesn't support HD resolutions from this point onward.

    ROFLOL. Sorry, that's been one of my pet peeves for some time now. Check the box again. As pretty as they look none of the FF games (or Kingsdom Hearts) run in progressive scan (at least on the PS2). Some run in 16:9 widescreen, but they are all 480i.

    FFXI is 480p on the X-box 360, and if you run Kingdom Hearts "Chain of Memories" through the Gameboy player you can get 480p on that.

    The Wii at 480p seems right in line with the focus they've been given in the past.

  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:24PM (#18101224) Homepage Journal

    It's not news because it means demand is high (that's an acceptable excuse the first month and a half). It's news because it means Nintendo has dropped the ball.

    When was the last time Nintendo sold 500,000 consoles per month during a non-holiday season in just North America? Dude, that is a LOT of consoles. So many that the Wii has sold almost half as many units as the XBox 360 has sold in its entire lifetime. So many that Nintendo has already sold about 1/4 of the units that the Gamecube sold in its entire lifetime.

    Think about that. 1/4 the number of Gamecubes in 1/4 of a year. Wow. I'd hate to be the guy who management is leaning on to improve Nintendo's production capacity.
  • by fistfullast33l ( 819270 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:29PM (#18101282) Homepage Journal
    This is not troubling for Sony - let's check Xbox 360 last year at this time. Gamasutra [gamasutra.com] reports that last January 2006 Xbox 360 sold approximately 250,000 units, about the same as PS3 this year. That's without a competitor with an excellent games library or a competitor which is the newest fad and phenomenon that outsold you 2:1. In fact, this January the Xbox only sold 40,000 more than last January. And that's without the supply issue that last year's sales displayed. So basically, the 360 isn't exactly red hot either. If the 360 was so amazing, it'd be killing the PS3. As it is, it's barely holding on.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:30PM (#18101302)
    Except Dragon Quest is about the gameplay, and they clearly think that the DS will offer superior gameplay.

    Final Fantasy is all about the shiny graphics, and has been since FF6. (Yes, 6. 6 is one of the buggiest games to ever be released on the SNES. One of the character's abilities would actually crash the game.) 6 stopped the focus on the game and moved it onto the graphics. It added a 3D-ish world map, to the point where the airship actually moved in 3-D (which accomplished absolutely nothing game-play wise), and increased the graphical quality over the previous FF games.

    It's no wonder that FF7 went all-out CGI, since 6 was already moving in that direction.

    Hell, the most recent FF game went even further on the flashy graphics front, automating most of the actual gameplay and turning the game into a glorified 40-hour long movie.

    FF has become Square's platform for showing off what they can do graphically. There's no way FF13 will be on the Wii, because they'd have to give up shiny and concentrate on the gameplay, something they stopped doing at FF6.

    In fact, it's almost guaranteed that FF13 won't leave the PS3, since the PS3 has the most flashy CGI potential of all the next-gen consoles. At the very least, unless they want to release FF13 on multiple disks, Blu-ray is likely to be the only format that can hold all the crappy, time-wasting, non-game related CGI they love to shove into their games.

    So it's fairly safe to say that Square's graphics showcase game series will not ever see the Wii. The main line Final Fantasy "games" are really just fancy long graphical demos, and have been since FF6.
  • by dank zappingly ( 975064 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:31PM (#18101328)
    I guess I don't see it the way you do. I would argue that for a $600 console with one exclusive title worth playing, it is selling pretty darn well. After they iron out the bugs and more titles start to come out, I think that they'll easily overtake Microsoft. Although the Blu Ray format is virtually worthless right now, as more people get HDTV's and more Blu Ray's are released the feature will be more valuable to consumers. The system is supposed to be able to last for a while. The 360 has been out for a year and they're already discussing releasing a new one in May with a bigger hard drive. Microsoft's Xbox came out after the PS2 and died out way before it. Although people keep saying that it is sitting on store shelfs, I still can't find one in my area (Manhattan), and every time Amazon gets a shipment they sell out immediately. I see posts all the time from people on the internet saying that their Walmart in the middle of nowhere has had them on the shelves for ages, and it really isn't surprising given the price point, but they are selling like hotcakes over here, and if Sony had twice as many of them, they would have sold them. Even if Nintendo does keep up these sales figures, it still won't have the graphics and gameplay that some people want. I don't think the 360/PS3 debate will become moot any time soon.
  • ...well... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rev Jim (AKA Metal F ( 1004571 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:46PM (#18101546)
    I don't think anyone can predict exactly which console will be the most dominant (short of the DS and it's successor wink wink nudge nudge) in a year and a half's time from now. These figures showing the wii so far out in front have to get under Sony's collar, and were probably part of their 'worst case scenario' or something like that amounting to miscalculating their launch and the power of Nintendo to surge ahead in the initial leg of this race. It's all going to come down to titles, in the long run, if Sony can get them developed over the wii and 360, they can be the winner and depending a bit on the blu ray debacle with them being the most powerful system of the three if they can get the titles and the inevitable price drop, people will buy it. It's all too early to tell though. Initially with the wii's low point cost and appeal with their controller, and support of their DS in sales to support the wii win or lose - they're the winner right now. Remember the PS usurped control over the 64 a one time and became the heir apparent, now thing are starting to come full circle except it remains to be seen whether the big N can keep the dominance with a lack of exclusive titles. Nintendo are going to need a lot more quality exclusive titles than they did with the Gamecube to stay on top IMO. That's been their problem since the 64, a lack of titles really. Essentially right now, there's (3)800 pound gorillas in this ring and anything is possible right here and now looking a year off down the road.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:46PM (#18101554)
    We're talking about Final Fantasy, though.

    Remember when it jumped to the PlayStation? The customers followed it, not the other way around.

    They've demonstrated in the past that they'll release Final Fantasy for whatever they think will have the flashiest graphics.

    You'd have to be insane to think they'd pass up on an HDTV console for FF13. FF13 might move to the XBox 360 (and why not, FF11 already got ported to it), but there's no way it'll be released for the Wii.

    Earlier this year Square-Enix announced that for the 20th anniversary of the original release of Final Fantasy, they'd be releasing PSP versions of the GBA releases. Square-Enix clearly doesn't care about where the customers are, only where they can make the prettiest (but not necessarily most fun) games.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @06:09PM (#18101882)
    Exactly. I think the announcement for a Wii2 will come even earlier than 4 years. Nintendo is making a shitload of money right now with the DS and the Wii (and rightly so). So it looks VERY likely that the Wii will have a shorter lifespan than previous consoles and especially compared to the other current generation consoles.
  • by coren2000 ( 788204 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @06:18PM (#18102004) Journal
    Interesting. I haven't yet seen one of these mythical Wii's (never any in stock). So I don't truly know if the graphics are so terrible. Also, what is a mature game? Call of Duty is on Wii right? I'm sure that some sort of sword fighting game is on Wii, right? As a personal thing, I don't need a whole wack of crappy 'mature' games. I need 3 or 4 great games (which could, or could not be 'mature'). Does the Wii lack 'great' games? Perhaps the Wii's lack of power is stopping games like Oblivion? Man Oblivion would be awesome with the Wii controler... "Total Immersion!"
  • by trdrstv ( 986999 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @06:44PM (#18102260)
    I wouldn't say hardly anyone. All the gamers I know either have one or are looking for one, and HDTVs were one of the hottest selling items this hoilday season. Prices are dropping a LOT, and 32" 720p LCD HDTVs can regularly be found for $500. The prices will only drop, and the install base will only rise in the future.

    Why are so many people so shortsighted? HDTV is the future.

    HD may be the future, but the issue is it isn't the present. Currently I own an HDTV, and an HD DVD player. I enjoy them immensely, but I am (by having them) in the minority. About 17% of households in the US have 1 or more HDTVs. That means 83% don't, and our adoption rates have been better than either Japan and Europe. Now HD is a niche (albeit growing) market. It will take several more years for it to hit mainstream adoption. DVD only surpassed VHS sales after the players hit the $50 and under price point.

    In 5-10 years it may be mainstream, but Nintendo has banked that it won't hit 'critical mass' within the 4-6 year life expectancy of the Wii. I'll bet that the next Nintendo will push HD, but in the interest to cater to the largest possible market they have chosen SD.

  • My Perspective (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Riquez ( 917372 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @07:31PM (#18102830) Homepage
    I own a PS3, an xBox360 & a Wii. I also play them on a 720p TV. Here is my perspective...

    I bought the PS3 first (11th Nov 2006) & was pretty impressed from day one. Of the few games I owned back then, I felt that gameplay & atmosphere was superior to that on the xBox360 (that I had played at friends houses)
    When I talk about "gameplay & atmosphere" I mean this - the way that a game can draw you in, inspire you to play, leave you wanting more, a compelling story with rewarding/challenging gameplay.
    I consider Resistance to have a moderate amount of this, CoD3 lots, Halo very little.

    Some months later I bought an xBox360. I was disappointed at range of games available on the PS3 & their slow appearance. I expect this to pick up in the next few months, but at the moment only MGS has me drooling.
    I was pleasantly surprised with the xBox360. I picked up a few decent games right away & at the moment I play the xBox360 much more that the other two consoles. Deadrising is fiendishly difficult, but very addictive & compelling. It even inspired me to watch "Dawn of the Dead" on a saturday morning before diving into some zombie chopping action.
    xBox live is a great feature, despite my previous opinion that it wasnt something I would use - the demos etc are a real bonus.
    My 2 small gripes about the xBox360 are the subscription fee for online play & the noise of the xbox fans. It is very noisy compared to the silent PS3.
    Otherwise, I put the xBox360 above the PS3. More games & more fun. But I wouldnt rule out the PS3 yet, I think there will still be some nice things to come.

    The Wii was a bit of a novelty buy. I didnt expect it to form a big part of my gaming life - & I was right. The innovative control system is indeed inspired & great fun, but the games are just time fillers. Wii sports is, erm, well not much more than a demo. I can see it being nice for children aged 3-8, but beyond that it's not really for serious games.
    I have this great Marble game though, you are a marble & you roll around on various floating mazes to reach the goal. This game really does get addictive & I often play it for 10 mins or so to warm up before getting into some real hi-def arcade action on the xBox360 or PS3.
    The Wii is selling well. It's cheap. I put this down to: people don't look beyond the price for their purchase / or / they are crap at games
  • What Sony needs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kahrytan ( 913147 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @08:17PM (#18103294)
    Is a new PS3 console.

      Remove the hard drive and bluray drive. Replace blu-ray with a Sony DVD drive and make the HDD optional add on if possible.

      If Sony removed those two components with lower cost solutions, they could knock off $100-$200. They could easily sell a PS3 at $299-$399 instead. That is a much better price point. PS3 could compete with both 360 and Wii better.
  • by Mr2001 ( 90979 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:04PM (#18103686) Homepage Journal

    I wouldn't say hardly anyone. All the gamers I know either have one or are looking for one, and HDTVs were one of the hottest selling items this hoilday season. Prices are dropping a LOT, and 32" 720p LCD HDTVs can regularly be found for $500.
    Congratulations on finding a bargain - in the stores around here, 32" LCDs start around $600-$700. One of my gamer friends was thinking about buying an HDTV, but snapped back when he realized $500 would buy a screen not much bigger than his computer monitor.

    Even $500 is too much, though: I paid about $250 for my TV, and in my mind that's how much TVs cost. Judging from the installed base, I'm not the only one with that opinion. I've seen HDTVs in lobbies, casinos, bars, and electronics stores, and I've been bombarded with advertising for them, but I've only ever seen one HDTV in an actual house, and it was a rear projection unit that looked awful.

    The prices will only drop, and the install base will only rise in the future.

    Why are so many people so shortsighted? HDTV is the future.
    I'm sure it will be... but it isn't the present. Until HDTV is affordable, not many people are going to care about HD quality graphics, Blu-Ray or HD-DVD, because they won't be able to use them anyway. By the time HDTV has been adopted widely, it'll be time for a new round of consoles anyway.
  • 'Dominates'? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by atomicstrawberry ( 955148 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:46PM (#18103996)
    I don't think it's fair to say that Wii is 'dominating'. They are playing for a different core audience (while there is crossover between 'casual' and 'hardcore' gamers, they are not the same market). In terms of sales they've got a leg up for January of about 40% over MS and 45% over Sony, but it's worth keeping in mind that the Wii retails for close to 40% less than 360 and 60% less than PS3. Anyone can flog a product that's less than half the price of the competition. Additionally there's a massive amount of media hype surrounding it, which won't be sustained. There is continued demand because they were unable to manufacture enough over Christmas - people who missed out on one to put under the tree are likely still trying to grab one. Finally, Nintendo systems have always sold well out of the blocks. Wake me up in six months and we'll see if they've kept their momentum. They're going to need some substantial third-party support too, something which they've really shown no signs of having at all. The hardware sales aren't nearly as important as the software sales, and on that front Wii only had one of the top 5, and it wasn't close to the top-seller for the month (Lost Planet).

    Personally, I'm skeptical as to whether Nintendo can keep the same momentum going given the lack of software in the pipeline. And additionally, as a gamer I hope that everyone is dead wrong about them dominating the market. I'm not a casual gamer, and while a few fun gimmicky toy games like Wii sports are great, I would die if everything was like that. For me, the games Nintendo seem to be pushing are like candy - they taste great, but they burn away pretty quickly and in the end you can't sustain yourself on them.
  • by dcam ( 615646 ) <david@uberconcep ... m minus math_god> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @12:47AM (#18105254) Homepage
    This is doubly troubling for Sony. The developers are likely to build cross platform games, which means they won't be taking full advantage of the cell processor. In other words most games will look similar on the PS3 and Xbox 360, which removes one of the major advantages of the PS3.
  • by nbahi15 ( 163501 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @01:22AM (#18105454) Homepage
    Wii has issues in my opinion. The wii is novelty and if doesn't get some decent games soon it is screwed. I already prefer my Demo of Gran Turismo HD (PS3) to anything I have played on my Wii. Initially I was sucked in by the novel game play but somewhere around the 60th hour of Zelda I was done with it. I only enjoy playing with the weather globe at this point. The key issue with the Wii is that most of the people that come over and play with it want to play Super Mario Brothers. That is not exactly the group of people that buy $60 games by the cart load.

    So my feeling is that PS3, and 360 may lose the early rounds this year, but based upon the kind of games on the gamecube, the wii games so far, and my boredom with controller, Nintendo should be moderately successful but never enjoy numeric dominance of the market. PS3 has the best platform, and once it gets some more games under its belt will begin to dominate the game market for yet another generation. 360 will come in second, once again hampered by the kind of dumb design decisions Microsoft makes, and Nintendo will be the console that kids and parents like but never buy enough games to matter. But Nintendo likes its niche, so I can't say that it is a bad thing for them.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger