Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nintendo sells 600,000 Wii consoles

It looks like Nintendo has gotten off to a great start with its Wii console, selling over 600,000 units in the first week of availability since its North American launch. According to Nintendo, over $190 million USD has been spent on the system, accessories and games. In contrast, Sony was estimated to have sold 259,000 units of its Playstation 3 console that was released 2 days earlier than the Wii.

For many still looking to get their hands on a Wii, many of the large stores in Canada such as Best Buy, Future Shop or Walmart continue to see demand exceed supply, as there is no product available on store shelves.

Nintendo is set to release the Wii in other markets, with its Japan launch on December 2nd, its Australian launch on December 7th and its European launch on December 8th.

Perhaps a contributing factor for this quick start is the cost of the Wii. Coming in at $279 CDN, it is much cheaper than the Sony Playstation 3, which costs either $549.99 or $659.99 or the Microsoft Xbox 360, which costs either $399 or $499 depending on the exact hardware configuration.

Of course, with this price difference, there is also a difference in what these systems are capable of. Nintendo's Wii does not have the high-powered graphics subsystem, an all-encompassing online play system or the inclusive home entertainment portal (i.e. Blu-ray, HD DVD, Media Extenders, etc) that is offered by either the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. Instead, Nintendo has tried to make games more immersive, largely due to its unique motion sensitive controller. You can see my previous blog entry about the Nintendo Wii for more details about the controller.

Which console design philosophy will win out in the end? Super-high powered graphics, integration into a home multimedia setup, inclusion of online play or unique gameplay options? It is clear that each one of these elements on its own won't be enough to turn the tide in this console war. The winning console will ultimately have features that incorporate aspects of all these elements. The company that finds the best mix at the right price will likely end up on top.

It will be an exciting next few years as this battle for console supremacy ensues and I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

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