December 15th, 2006, 04:16 Posted By: gunntims0103
news via m-net
Nintendo's Wii game console has broken Australian records, selling 32,901 units in its first week, toppling the previous Aussie sales record held by Microsoft's Xbox 360.
Figures for New Zealand are less exact, but local Nintendo distributor Softprint Interactive says that since going on sale December 7, the $500 console has achieved 75 per cent of the 7000 Xbox 360s sold here in March.
It's the same the world over; demand exceeded supply in the Americas with 600,000 Wiis sold within eight days, while UK gamers bought one Wii a second following its midnight launch, eventually snapping up 50,000 in its first 12 hours. In Europe, 325,000 consoles sold in its first two days.
So game is most definitely on, with the Xbox 360, PS3 and now the Wii all available and battling for market supremacy.
While we won't see it in New Zealand until March 7, the PS3 finally hit stores in the US and Japan mid-November. Manufacturing issues had plagued the console's release with the main culprit being production of the system's blue laser diode, eventually causing shortages of the console and delaying its release in Europe until March 2007.
But don't underestimate the Sony; since entering the market in 1994, the company has been the leading console vendor. The PSone shipped over 100 million units, a record broken only by the PS2. Sony envisions similar results from the PlayStation 3, except this time the console is more than a game - it's a multimedia hub for the home.
According to Ovum technology analyst Carl Gressum, "Sony has made two brave bets with its latest console, namely the Blu-ray disc drive, and the Cell processor, both of which are new and untested technologies. Over time these technology choices might be what brings Sony back into the game. However, for now, one has to question whether Sony might have been better off using more mature and established technologies."
Despite this, Sony is sticking to its projections of 2 million PS3s shipped by the end of 2006, and 6 million worldwide by March 2007 when the console is launched in Europe (and New Zealand).
Microsoft on the other hand has had a year's head start on the competition. By the end of Q3, the Xbox 360 had sold 6 million units, compared to the projected 4 million Wii shipments in December 2006 alone.
Microsoft has also added video download services to the 360, but Gressum feels this is unlikely to significantly impact on demand during the holidays; saying that the 20GB hard disk is hardly sufficient for video downloads. He adds that there is scepticism about the new HD DVD drive add-on; the Xbox 360 simply generates too much heat and noise to be a viable movie player platform.
However, he says Christmas should see be the best Xbox 360 quarter ever, with shipments reaching or exceeding 4 million units worldwide.
So with the big guns settling in for a heavy-weight stoush, light-weight Nintendo has surprised everyone by entering the next-generation console race with the oddly named Wii. And it's different. The Wii uses revolutionary movement sensors in its slim hand-held controller that relay movements directly to the game, allowing gamers to interact directly and instantly with the graphics. Swing the controller and hit a tennis ball, punch out and floor your attacker. No more sitting idle for hours, furiously tapping buttons, this game is meant to be active and involving.
It's a brave move and the latest figures say it's paying off. Nintendo Australia's Vispi Bhopti says the console is tailored to get non-gamers into gaming. He says the Wii Channels, due to launch in the New Year, will keep non-gaming sectors hooked on console. He explained that by logging on to the Wii Channels with the Wii controller, console owners will be able to watch Nintendo news, weather and internet programmes on their TV.
Games writer and editor of Netguide magazine Jorin Seivers says Nintendo is definitely aiming at a more mainstream audience, especially women. "The controller is very intuitive with fewer buttons and the imagery is very ‘cutesy'.
"The physical aspect of the game will also appeal more widely. You can actually build up a sweat with this thing," he says.
Gaming is a huge and often cut throat business, but we at m-net are picking that for the holidays, expect Nintendo to steal the show.
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