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The Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii Are Game to Battle Mobile

New Wii U, PlayStation, and Xbox gear may revive high-end gaming
The Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii Are Game to Battle Mobile
Photograph by Christopher Starbody for Bloomberg Businessweek

The popularity of cheap mobile games such as Angry Birds has led some analysts to wonder if $200 to $300 consoles like the Wii, Xbox, and PlayStation are destined for the Island of Misfit Toys. According to the market-research firm NPD Group, packaged game software sales in 2011 were 22 percent lower than in 2008, when revenue peaked at $11.7 billion. Game hardware sales are off 30 percent through the first 10 months of 2012 from the same period the year before. Peter Vesterbacka, the chief marketing officer of Finnish mobile game developer Rovio, creator of the Angry Birds franchise, called consoles a “dying breed.”

Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and their game developers aren’t giving up. Nintendo’s $300 Wii U console, which was launched in the U.S. on Nov. 18, sold 400,000 units in its first week, according to the company. Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II grossed more than $500 million within 24 hours of its Nov. 13 launch. And Sony and Microsoft are expected to have new PlayStation and Xbox consoles ready in late 2013. “The console business isn’t dying,” says Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities.