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PS3 and Wii Sell Out

21 Nov, 2006 By: John Gaudiosi

Both Sony and Nintendo sold out of all of their shipments of PlayStation 3 and Wii for launch as the U.S. market entered its first holiday season with all three next-generation video game consoles.

The major difference between the two consoles going forward will be supply.

Retailers expected more Wii hardware to hit retail immediately, while stores that he contacted had no idea when additional PS3 hardware would be replenished, said P.J. McNealy, video game analyst for American Technology Research. Many retailers expected regular replenishments of Wii hardware throughout the holiday, he said.

Sony said it shipped 400,000 PS3s for the U.S. launch, while Nintendo has announced a 4 million global shipment number through the end of the year. Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime said Nintendo will have 1 million Wiis in the United States by the first week of December and a total of 2 million in the United States by the second week of January. In contrast, Sony shipped only a few hundred thousand PS3s at launch, and although the company says it's still on target for 1 million in the United States by the end of the year, analysts doubt they'll reach that number. Both systems will be in short supply this holiday, but consumers likely will have more luck finding a Wii than a PS3.

“Our research indicates that sell-outs for both the PS3 and Wii were apparently unanimous,” McNealy said. “While the PS3 sell-outs were expected, given the limited quantities, the Wii sell-outs were likely but less certain in our opinion. We believe that the Wii sells itself to consumers, and that more hands-on time in places such as mall kiosks will only help create further buzz and success for the Wii.”

On the software side, Colin Sebastian, video game analyst for Lazard Capital Markets, said Insomniac Games' “Resistance: Fall of Man” is the best-selling PS3 title at launch, while Nintendo's “Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” is the top-seller for Wii.

McNealy said retailers were selling out of Wiimotes and Nunchucks, the controllers used to play Wii games. This means consumers buying Wii are using it for multiplayer action, which fits in with the family aspect of the system. Sony is clearly targeting the male gamer, not the family, for PS3's launch.

One of the key differences between early PS3 and Wii buyers can be found on Ebay.com. Many of those who stood in line to get Sony's new console ($500 or $600) did so to flip them on Ebay for thousands of dollars. One system actually sold for $15,000. Most consumers buying Wii, which are more plentiful in supply, are bringing them home to actually play. Ebay prices for the $250 Wii were only about $500.

Nintendo's family focus has opened the door to 11 Hollywood-licensed Wii launch games from Atari, Midway, THQ and Ubisoft. Games based on hit movies, such as Cars, Happy Feet, Open Season and The Ant Bully, and popular TV shows, such as “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” and “Dragon Ball Z,” are all enticing kids at launch. These games cost between $40 and $50. Typically it takes a year or more for these kinds of games to hit a new console, but Nintendo's Wii is not a typical console.

Along with $200 million in marketing funds, Nintendo's Wii software will ride the wave of theatrical and DVD publicity for many of these titles. In addition consumers will be able to experience Wii at kiosks at retailers like Target and at malls around the country.

While PS3 also has 15,000 kiosks at retailers, the HD graphics of PS3 are nearly identical to the year-old Xbox 360 (at least at launch).

Wii's motion-sensor controls separate this system from both HD gaming systems, which makes it a much more unique trial — even before the lower price point is factored in.

With both PS3 and Wii in short supply, some retailers are encouraging consumers to buy Xbox 360. Amazon.com looks like it will be offering the $300 Core Xbox 360 for $100 beginning Thanksgiving Day at 11 a.m. based on site votes; there will be 1,000 units at that price.

Microsoft's new console is in plentiful supply in the retail channel. The company also has shipped its $200 HD DVD drive, which comes packed-in with Peter Jackson's King Kong title. The add-on drive also plays HD DVD movies on any PC, making it the most affordable HD-DVD player on the market. Video game retailers such as EB Games are prominently promoting the new device on the front page of its Xbox 360 Web site.

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