We are playing Wii, and a little PS3

New video game numbers show a pickup in sales of Sony's high-priced console. But it's the Wii everyone really loves.

By Farhad Manjoo

Published July 24, 2007 4:54PM (EDT)

According to sales estimates released by the market research firm NPD Group, Nintendo remains, unsurprisingly, the king of video games. In June, the company sold more latest-generation consoles than anyone else -- 381,800 Wii systems. Nintendo also had the biggest game in America, selling 427,000 copies of "Mario Party 8." Microsoft came in second: The company rang up almost 200,000 XBox 360 systems -- a 28 percent jump from May, though the sales did come in before the company announced a $1 billion plan to fix faulty units.

And then there's Sony. The firm sold just 98,500 PlayStation 3s in June -- slightly more than one PS3 for every four Wiis Nintendo put out. But so anemic were Sony's previous sales that the figure actually marks a 20 percent improvement from May. Jack Tretton, who heads Sony's American games division, noted in a statement to reporters that the NPD numbers show sales that came before Sony's $100 PS3 price cut -- and after the price cut, he said, retail sales of the unit have soared by more than 135 percent. Watch out for much bigger numbers for July, in other words.

But if Tretton's right, the sales surge is good news for Sony only while supplies last. The company recently sheepishly admitted that it's no longer making the cheap -- and, in some ways, better -- $499 PS3; once that's sold out, we'll be stuck with the $599 model. And for that price, you could buy two Wiis.

[NPD numbers via Reuters.]

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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