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Xbox 360 sales remains strong

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Microsoft’s Xbox 360 may be older than the Wii and PS3, but it is the only console that continues to post increasing U.S. unit shipments – which jumped by 26% to 330,000 in March. Nintendo still rules the segment, but showed some weakness, while Sony’s PS3 clearly needs more incentive to attract buyers.

While we had doubts one year ago that Microsoft would be able to sustain its sales against the Wii and the PS3, it seems that the company has found key features that make the Xbox 360 an attractive buy.

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Nintendo’s Wii came in at 601,000 units, according to NPD; the Xbox 360 was second with 330,000 units and the PS3 third with 218,000. However, compared to March 2008, Wii sales were down more than 16% and PS3 sales were down more than 15%, but the Xbox 360 number climbed by 26%. It is also clear that the market is separating into three distinct segments: While the Xbox 360 was close to the PS3 in sales numbers last year, it is now outselling Sony’s PS3 by more than 50%. If we believe the current trend, then it seems that the Wii will settle at a market share of just above 50%, the Xbox 360 at just below 30% and the PS3 at slightly less than 20%.

All three players are entrenched in their market segments at this time and a major market shift would require either player to make either a huge mistake or make brave move to attack the others. It is somewhat obvious that Sony cannot be happy about its current situation. The PS3 needs more than just a decent game launch here and there. More entertainment content and a substantial price decrease are the only tools that can help the console at this time.

Combined Wii sales since launch currently stand at 19.7 million in the U.S., followed by the Xbox 360 with 14.9 million and the PS3 with 7.5 million, according to NPD. The three consoles add up to 42.1 million total unit sales.

Overall U.S. game consoles unit sales were down year over year the first time in 14 months. Combined sales were 1.15 million units, down 7% from 1.24 million in March 2008.

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