March 14th, 2007, 19:36 Posted By: wraggster
Sony Corp., the world's biggest maker of game consoles, shipped 5 million PlayStation Portable machines in Japan by the end of January, lagging behind Nintendo Co.'s DS handheld devices by about three to one.
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s spokesman, Satoshi Fukuoka, gave the PSP shipment numbers in a phone interview today, confirming an earlier report by the Nikkei newspaper. Both the DS and PSP went on sale in Japan in December 2004.
Nintendo, the world's biggest maker of handheld players, has shipped 14.4 million DS units in Japan by the end of 2006, the Kyoto-based company said, giving its latest available figures.
Sony Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer is facing declining profit for the group because of losses at the game unit on costs related to the PlayStation 3 and slower-than-expected PSP sales. The company is losing market share to Nintendo's DS, which attracts users with the help of a touch-sensitive screen and games that let them play Frisbee with virtual pets.
Wii sales in Japan totaled 1.69 million units as of Feb. 25, compared with 700,747 for PS3, according to Enterbrain Inc., a Tokyo-based research firm. Consumers are attracted to the Wii's price, at half that of the least-expensive PlayStation 3, and a wireless controller that can be swung like a bat or tennis racquet during play.
PlayStation 3 production snags created supply problems during the holiday shopping season, forcing Sony to concede market share to the Wii. Sony is relying on sales of Bravia TVs and Cyber-shot cameras to make up for losses at the game business.
Tokyo-based Sony in January forecast losses at the games unit to exceed its October forecast of 200 billion yen ($1.7 billion) for the year ending March 31, because of price cuts to fend off the Wii. The loss will be less than 250 billion yen, Sony said.
The company cut the price of the PS3 in Japan after consumers there complained the player was too expensive compared with players from Nintendo and Microsoft Corp. The PlayStation 3 includes a Blu-ray DVD player that allows users to watch movies in a high-definition format, in addition to playing games.
Both the Wii and PlayStation 3 were introduced in November as competitors to Microsoft's Xbox 360, which was released in 2005. The Wii's $250 price tag compares with $499 and $599 for the PlayStation 3. The Xbox 360 sells for $299 and $399
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