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Nintendo Clobbers Sony in Japan

6 Jun, 2007 By: John Gaudiosi

Nintendo continues to dominate the global marketplace with its one-two punch of Wii and Nintendo DS.

Nintendo's Wii outsold PS3 by a margin of 5 to 1 in May in Japan. Nintendo sold 251,794 Wiis in May, compared to Sony sales of 45,321 PS3s, according to Japanese magazine publisher Enterbrain.

Through March 25 in Japan, Nintendo had sold more than 1.95 million Wiis. During that same time period, Sony's PlayStation 3 had yet to break the 1 million unit mark and is currently at 812,000 units sold. Those numbers are even more telling given that Wii launched Dec. 2 in Japan, several weeks after PS3's Nov. 11 launch.

Microsoft's Xbox 360, which has not been able to break the Japanese market, lagged even further behind, with 11,082 units sold in May.

In the United States, Nintendo's Wii topped the sales charts for a fourth month in a row in April, selling 360,000 units, compared to 82,000 PS3s and 174,000 Xbox 360s, according to the NPD Group.

Sony's game division posted an operating loss of $1.91 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31, in large part due to the launch of PS3 and slow hardware and software sales for the system.

Later this month, Sony will release a 80GB PS3 in Korea. Sony may release this version in additional territories later this year. Sony plans to ship 11 million PS3s through March 2008, which is double the 5.5 million PS3s it shipped the previous fiscal year.Nintendo DS continues to blow away Sony's PSP in sales. The DS has sold more than 36 million units worldwide. In Japan, Nintendo has shipped 14.4 million Nintendo DS units through 2006. In contrast, Sony has shipped only 5 million PSPs through January 2007.In May, Nintendo sold 620,670 Nintendo DS portables, while Sony sold only 123,673 PSPs.

Michael Pachter, video game analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities, said it's too early to rule Sony out. In fact, PS2, which also had launch problems, got off to a slow start. But it could take two to three years for Sony to catch up to Nintendo's Wii, he said, and it's not likely PSP will catch up to Nintendo DS this round.

Meanwhile, Rumors are spreading online that the new PSP facelift, which is expected to come this year, may incorporate phone functionality. In May, Sony announced that it was joining forces with U.K. telecom service provider BT to bring wireless broadband communication to the device.

Sony applied for a patent last November that would allow the PSP's screen to swing open 90 degrees for use as a phone. A third swing position would control TV and video functionality. This form factor would allow Sony to keep the 16:9 widescreen screen that's the center of the portable entertainment device.

Last March, Sony Computer Entertainment U.K. managing director Ray Maguire said that the new PSP would be smaller and lighter than the current iteration, but the screen would remain intact.

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