Financial publication Forbes has published the lifetime sales of all three current-gen consoles. The current tally is as follows:
Wii: 35 million units
Xbox360: 23 million units
PS3: 13 million units
The article goes on to quote David Gibson, an analyst with Macquarie Securities about profits and losses made per hardware unit sold.
Sony loses money on each Playstation sold. Microsoft (...) might just break even. But every Wii brings in $6 of operating profit for Nintendo.
However, this bit of information appears to contradict earlier research data. Back in November 2006, a market research company estimated that only the PS3 was a lossmaker. Of course, there is a difference between pure revenue and operating profit, which might explain the contradiction. But despite its reputation, the Forbes article is already wrong on at least one count, noting that Nintendo "brought out the Wii gaming console three years ago".
At any rate, despite those phenomenal sales figures, some media outlets suggest that the Wii demand is cooling off in Japan.
During its first year on store shelves, the console sold an average of 386,000 units a month. In its second year since release, that figure is down 24% to 292,000 a month. With the holiday season upon us, the Wii would have to sell 2 million total units over the season to bring its average back up to where it used to be.
Of course, the curse of such phenomenal sales figures as the Wii experienced so far is that they are difficult to sustain. A boom, in economic terms, is a volatile situation and everything but stable.
The Forbes article details, however, that the Wii is expected to sell more units in 2008 than the best-selling console to date, the PS2, sold in its strongest year, 2003.
And in the portable space, Nintendo clearly reigns supreme. With the new iteration of the Nintendo DS the handheld sold half a million units in one month in Japan.
All in all it would appear as if 2008 is wrapping up as another winner for Nintendo, on both console fronts. Let's see what 2009 has in store for us and the big three.
Sources: Forbes, Nintendo Wii Fanboy
Thanks to: Joystiq, Nintendo Wii Fanboy, Chart Get!