Console Makers Respond to NPD March Sales Data

Console manufacturers Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have all chimed in on NPD's sales figures for March, which saw Nintendo's Wii once again outsell both Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 in North America, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl taking the top spot in software sales with 2.7M units sold.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 broke the PlayStation 3's two-month winning streak for the #2 spot in hardware sales, moving 262,000 consoles in March. Microsoft again suggested that shortages played a hand in the total numbers for the month.

"Going into March, some key U.S. retailers were still experiencing the trickle down effect of Xbox 360 console shortages," a Microsoft representative said. "By the end of March, supply issues had improved and we expect retailers to be fully stocked with Xbox 360 consoles in time for the Grand Theft Auto IV launch."

The company went on to tout a 7.5 software attach rate for the Xbox 360 in March, describing the data as "a record for any game console".

In its response to the data, hardware manufacturer Sony noted that the 257,100 PlayStation 3s sold in March represent a 98% year-over-year growth in sales, while 1.9M software units sold marked a 139% increase over March of last year.

"It is proof that, in these economically challenging times, consumers recognize the long-term value of our platforms and the tremendous heritage of our brand in delivering the best entertainment experience," said Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton.

Tretton added that the PSP's third place finish with 297,000 units sold in March and the releases of Ready at Dawn's God of War: Chains of Olympus and Square Enix's Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII "further proves the trend that 2008 is the year for PlayStation."

Nintendo boasted more than 1.4M units in total hardware sales, moving 721,000 units of its Wii console and 698,000 units of the portable Nintendo DS.

"Nintendo systems represented 58 percent of all video game hardware sold in March in the United States,” Nintendo of America sales VP Cammie Dunaway. "We expect our momentum to continue with big upcoming game launches like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit."

The company noted that the portable Nintendo DS has now sold more than 19M units in the United States alone since it launched in November, 2004.