What Tablet Threat? Brisk Sales Keep Consoles in the Game This Holiday.

Tablets and smartphones may be eating away at the videogame market — but apparently not last week.

All combined, in just seven days the three console makers sold a jaw-dropping 1.98 million consoles in the U.S. — an astonishing accomplishment for an industry that is facing enormous pressure from emerging gaming platforms, like the iPad.

Today, Sony reported it sold more than 525,000 PlayStation 3 units over the past week, while Microsoft sold more than 750,000 Xbox 360 consoles to easily beat Wii U first-week sales of 400,000. In total, however, Nintendo sold 700,000 units, including both the Wii U and original Wii.

The week kicked off Sunday, Nov. 18, with the Wii U going on sale and ended Saturday, following Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Nintendo’s sales of the Wii U were likely limited by the number of units it could manufacturer, with many U.S. retailers running out of inventory. Microsoft and Sony saw a lift from well-priced bundles that cost half as much as what Nintendo was charging for the Wii U, and in general, all three benefited from a trend in which consumers are using their videogame consoles for accessing other types of content through their TVs, including streaming media or music.

Sony said one PlayStation bundle, which cost $199, sold 15 percent more this year compared to 2011. Microsoft was selling similar Xbox bundles for $150. Essentially, the two manufacturers can afford price cuts like these, given that they are six years or more into their hardware lifecycles. In comparison, the brand-new Wii U costs $300 and $350, depending on the package.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik