Microsoft's Xbox Outsells Nintendo's Wii, Sony's PlayStation 3

Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 outsold Nintendo Co.’s Wii last month, becoming the top selling video- game console in the U.S. for the first time in almost three years, after introducing a model equipped with wireless-Internet.

Sales of the Xbox 360 more than doubled to 443,500 units, regaining the top spot for the first time since September 2007, Port Washington, New York-based researcher NPD Group Inc. said in a statement yesterday. Consumers bought 253,900 Wii players, little changed from a year ago, while sales of Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 gained 76 percent to 214,500 units.

“Xbox 360 was the top-selling hardware platform for the month, driven by sales of the new slim format,” Anita Frazier, an NPD analyst, said in the statement. The console last occupied the top sales spot when Microsoft released its “Halo 3” exclusive title almost three years ago, Frazier said.

The demand for Xbox 360 bolstered overall sales of hardware 12 percent last month, helping offset the 8 percent decline in software revenue, the report said.

Sony and Microsoft hope to increase sales by introducing motion controllers later this year, while Nintendo will upgrade its handheld-player lineup with a model allowing users to see 3- D images without wearing special glasses.

‘NCAA Football 11’

Nintendo slipped 0.3 percent to 22,320 yen as of the midday break in Osaka trading, compared with Sony’s 0.6 percent decline to 2,549 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average retreated 0.3 percent. Microsoft closed 1.5 percent lower in New York yesterday.

Sales of Nintendo’s DS portable player fell 26 percent to 398,400 last month, NPD said. Sony’s PlayStation Portable handheld sold 84,000 units, a 32 percent plunge from a year earlier, it said.

The best-selling game in July was “NCAA Football 11” from Electronic Arts Inc., which sold 368,000 copies for the Xbox and 298,800 copies for PS3, NPD said. PC game sales more than doubled as retail purchases of “StarCraft II” from Activision Blizzard Inc. totaled 721,000 units.

Microsoft in June shipped a new Xbox machine that was slimmer and quieter than its predecessor and had built-in Wi-Fi. The console sells for $299.99, the same as the old model.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at palpeyev@bloomberg.net; Rob Golum in Los Angeles at rgolum@bloomberg.net.

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