Two hot, critically-acclaimed games helped push sales of Sony’s PlayStation 3 past the Nintendo Wii for the first time in well over a year in Japan, according to Reuters. It’s a significant milestone, given the fact that the Wii has been outselling the PS3 worldwide since they both launched in 2006 (in the U.S., for example, people have bought about 16.2 million Wiis, compared to 6.3 million PS3s).
The games, Sega’s Ryu Ga Gotoku 3 (aka Yakuza 3) and Capcom’s Resident Evil 5, weren’t available for the Wii, so gamers that wanted to play had to buy a PS3 if they didn’t have one already, highlighting the direct, positive impact that a library of lust-worthy games can have on console sales. And if Sony (NYSE: SNE) can manage to snag a stream of best-selling exclusives here in the U.S., the resulting sales could help the PS3 gain ground against against both the Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (something many in the industry have said will only happen if Sony cuts the console’s price).
But analysts aren’t exactly worried that the Wii’s Japanese sales “slump” is the start of a downward spiral. From the FT: Credit Suisse analyst Koya Tabata told clients that the cost of producing a Wii had fallen by about half since its launch, meaning Nintendo could afford to cut the console’s price, if needed, to boost sales. Meanwhile, Mizuho Investors Securities analyst Etsuko Tamura told Reuters that game publishers would continue to shift more resources to making titles for the Wii.
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