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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