Nintendo Wii sales surge in Japan

Sales of Nintendo's Wii surged in the third week of December in Japan as more supplies of the hard-to-get games console arrived in shops across the country.

Sales of Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s Wii surged in the third week of December in Japan as more supplies of the hard-to-get games console arrived in shops across the country.

Sales totaled 279,277 units for the week, according to figures from Media Create Co. Ltd. That's more than double the number sold a week earlier and the greatest weekly sales yet with the exception of launch week, when 350,358 consoles were sold, according to Media Create.

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s PlayStation 3 also saw sales jump on the previous week, although the climb was much more modest. A total of 76,882 units were sold, said Media Create.

Sales of both consoles are constrained by supply at present, so it's difficult from the figures to gauge which will eventually prove more popular among Japanese gamers.

With the latest figures, Nintendo sits on the cusp of selling its millionth Wii console in Japan. To Dec. 24, a total of 824,311 units have been sold, putting the million mark well within reach during the last week of the year as long as the company can keep supplies flowing into shops. In contrast, total sales of the PlayStation 3, which has been on sale for 3 weeks longer than Wii, totaled 385,791 units due to lower supply.

The figures also delivered some good news for Microsoft Corp. Sales of the Xbox 360 were 17,213 units, which is almost unchanged from the week earlier and still well above their level in November. Microsoft launched the long-awaited "Blue Dragon" game in Japan in early December and offered a special-edition Xbox 360 console to accompany the title. That appears to have boosted sales for the machine.

In the software chart, Wii Sports ranked fifth with sales of 152,756 units, making it the highest-selling software title of the week for any of the three consoles. The title is sold separately in Japan but bundled with the console in North America.

Overall, the handheld Nintendo DS Lite maintained its strong lead with sales of 485,584 units, said Media Create. Its closest handheld rival, Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) sold 138,588 units for the week. Six of the top-ten software titles were for the DS, including number-one-ranked "Pokemon Diamond," while the PSP game "Metal Gear Solid Portable" ranked second.

Japan Weekly Console Sales

Nov. 11-12 Nov. 13-19 Nov. 20-26 Nov. 27 to Dec. 3 Dec. 4 to 10 Dec. 11 to 17 Dec. 18 to 24

PlayStation 3 81,639 42,099 32,622 31,436 50,171 70,942 76,882

Wii n/a n/a n/a 350,358 85,439 108,237 279,277

Xbox 360 3,864 4,050 7,007 4,053 35,343 17,168 17,213

Source: Media Create Co. Ltd.

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