Microsoft Left Out Of Black Friday Console Wars?

Black Friday
Black Friday

The game console war enjoyed a robust battle on Black Friday and we're getting indications now of new momentum for Sony's flagging PlayStation franchise, and continued mega-sales for Nintendo's Wii. Hard data from Sony indicates a strong week for its platform. The company reports that PlayStation 3 hardware sales jumped 245 percent compared to Black Friday sales a year ago.

Since Nov. 2, PS3 sales have soared 298 percent; the portable PSP enjoyed a 136 percent pop from the week before. All good news. If there's a glitch, such that it is, for Sony, it's that PlayStation 2 sales also jumped 287 percent from the previous week. No question, Sony's price cuts are helping the PS3 along, and for many consumers, it was about time Sony got realistic about what shoppers were willing to pay when it came to a game console. Another key data point: Sony's PS3 outsold the Wii in Japan for the first time.

The PS2 sales are an issue though. At a time when the company is desperately trying to steer the market to the new and improved platform, such a major bump in PS2 sales is certainly surprise; not necessarily a good one.

The Wii phenomenon apparently continues unabated. Short supply doesn't mean no supply and when these things make it on to store shelves, they're not there for long. I got an email last night from the company telling me that Wii is only half the story for Nintendo, and despite the blockbuster headlines about the product, the bigger story might be what Nintendo is seeing, sales-wise, with its portable DS.

The company sold 350,000 Wii's between Nov. 18 and Nov. 25, the best sales week ever for the company. EVER! To give that a little perspective: In the entire month of October, Microsoft sold 366,000 Xbox's; Sony sold 121,000 PS3's. For the month!

Nintendo's portable DS sold a staggering 653,000 units during the same week. But the Wii consoles are still in short supply, despite Nintendo increasing monthly production to 1.8 million units.

Still awaiting hard data from Microsoft , but with all the recent bad press surrounding ongoing console breakdowns, Xbox 360 overheating problems, and a new class-action suit filed by Halo 3 users who complain the game isn't completely compatible with the platform, you gotta wonder whether Sony and Nintendo are capitalizing on Xbox's misfortune.

But no matter how this shakes out, it appears the gaming sector is alive and well and doing extraordinary business. This also bodes very well for the likes of Electronic Arts , and Activision . Investors take heart: all that hype about this becoming a gamer's holiday shopping season appears to be coming true.

Questions? Comments?