New market sales figures from the NPD Group for the month of May show that Nintendo continues to dominate both the handheld and console gaming arenas, while Microsoft and Sony struggle to maintain respectable showings.
As with previous months in 2007, NPD found the Nintendo DS was the runaway winner in overall unit sales, moving some 423,000 units during the month. However, the Wii was a close second, selling another 338,000 systems during the month. Both figures are down a bit compared to sales figures for April 2007—when NPD had Nintendo moving 471,000 DS units and 360,000 Wiis—but the numbers still put Nintendo so far ahead of rivals Sony and Microsoft that the battle in the video game hardware market is starting to look like a fight for second place, rather than the lead.
Amongst console systems, NPD says Microsoft managed to sell 154,900 Xbox 360 systems, which also represents a decline from April’s figure of 174,000. Sony’s PlayStation 2 continues to outsell the Xbox 360, moving 187,800 units during May; however, Sony’s PlayStation 3 sold only 81,600 units during the month, holding essentially even with April’s sales of 82,000 units. Sony may finally be realizing that the $600 price tag on its powerful gaming console—combined so far with a lack of must-have exclusive titles—has been hindering consumer adoption: the company let slip today it is considering price cuts on the console.
Sony’s outlook was a little better with its handheld PSP system, which managed to move a surprising 222,120 units during May, fueled by a recent price drop.
So far, 2007 video game hardware sales have been dominated by Nintendo, although it’s too soon to count Microsoft and Sony out of the game. Microsoft’s hardcore gamers are looking forward to the arrival of the third installment in the company’s Halo franchise, and Sony is expecting several PS3-exclusive titles by the end of the year. Exclusive games combined with price cuts could give either company a significant sales increase—but you know Nintendo has to see that coming a mile away.