Video game hardware sales data for March are in and Nintendo came out on top, with an asterix. Here are the numbers:
Console-wise, the Wii did come out on top of the current gen systems, however, the PS2 did outsell it, thanks in large part to God of War II.
Let's take a closer look at the PS2 vs. Wii numbers. The PS2 won by 20K units (the PS2 has been outselling the current gens this whole time, btw). It had the hit of all hits released for it, God of War II. There is nothing nearly as significant in the PS2 pipeline, obviously, as developers are working on PS3 games.
The Wii, suffering from production constraints and sans a new hit game, still came in at 259K beating all other current gen consoles. Nintendo has stated that production capabilities are ramping up and that the supply issues should be resolved over the next few months.
Add in a strong lineup of both first party games (Super Paper Mario, Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree, Mario Party 8) and third party games (Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Escape from Bug Island, Bionicle Heroes), which will all be out in the next two months, and it's hard to imagine the Wii not continuing to do well.
The PS2, with God of War II has taken its last breath, and granted, it was an impressive gasp, but I predict that the days of seeing the PS2 at the top of the hardware sales for all consoles is now over.
Moving on to the other current gens, the Xbox 360 came in at 199K, and you'll see that number increase when April results come out due to the success of Guitar Hero II.
Rounding out the lineup is the PS3, limping in at 130K sold. In all honesty, that's not too bad of a showing. Once some decent games come out for the system you'll start to see sales of it take off, probably around holiday of this year.
Moving on to handhelds, well, why should we even do this. Of course, the DS dominated, just as it has for the past 217 years. Yes, 508K DSs were sold in March, a historically slow month, and Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl haven't even been released yet (there are currently 533,000 pre-orders combined for the two games).
All in all, the US video game industry rose 33% year-on-year and totalled $1.1 billion for the month. For the first three months of the year, sales are up 54% to $3.3 billion. I'd say we're in a wee bit of a growth cycle (I would have said a Wii bit of growth cycle, but then I would have had to self flagellate).