A little over a year ago, analysts and industry watchers would have bet that the battle for dominance in the so-called “next-generation” video game console arena would have been between Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3, with Sony in the dominant role and Microsoft doggedly playing catch-up—and virtually no one mentioning Nintendo. But the future isn’t what it used to be, and another sign has come by way of Japanese game magazine publisher Enterbrain, which reports the Nintendo Wii outsold Sony’s PlayStation 3 by a factor of five to one in Japan during the month of May.
According to Enterbrain, Sony managed to sell 45,321 PS3 units in Japan during May. Conversely, Nintendo moved 251,794 Wii consoles. The move continues the Wii’s winning streak in Japan: during April, Enterbrain found the less-expensive console with the innovative controller outsold the more-powerful PS3 by four to one.
Sony says it will ship 11 million PS3 units by the end of its fiscal year in March 2008; however, that target seems to be slipping further into the realm of wishful thinking. In the United States, market research firm NPD Group also puts the Wii significantly ahead of the PS3, consistently ranking it as the top-selling gaming console.
The PlayStation 3’s lagging sales darkens the shadow looming over Sony’s gaming division, which posted an operating loss just under $2 billion for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2007. The massive start-up costs associated with the Blu-ray equipped PS3 console dragged down Sony’s overall profitability.