Early estimates from Black Friday 2008 are slowly trickling in, and it would appear that Nintendo is off to a third straight killer year for the Wii. Impressive, considering they’re working with a sparse holiday software lineup and their only first-party offering is the tepidly received Wii Music. By all indications, Wii Fit is flying off shelves, and likely keeping the hardware a hot commodity almost by itself.
This really demonstrates Nintendo’s Blue Ocean strategy working well. Wii Fit launched nearly seven months ago. Under normal circumstances, it would be rocking the discount bin this Christmas with a sequel on the way. But that’s just it: hardcore gamers that would run out to get a game on launch day aren’t fueling the Wii’s swollen installed base, and they certainly aren’t the target audience for Wii Fit.
Microsoft had a good weekend as well, handily outselling the PS3 and last year’s Xbox 360 number. Sony’s no doubt up on year-over-year sales, but I can’t help wondering how their numbers would have looked if they had put out a LittleBigPlanet bundle in the US, like they did in the UK. LBP is getting some decent ad support now, and Sackboy appeals to a family that could really only afford to spend $400 on a box if it’s going to keep their entire family entertained for the better part of this year. As much as I love Metal Gear Solid 4, I just don’t think Snake has the same appeal to that audience.
In theory, the PS3′s Blu-ray player helps on the family entertainment front, but I’m not sure that’s a real value add for that type of consumer. Disney is just beginning to put animated features out on Blu-ray, and those discs aren’t compatible with the portable and in-minivan DVD players that parents already bought. Between the Netflix addition, price drop, and Kung Fu Panda/Lego Indiana Jones bundle, the Xbox 360 deserves to be on their radars.
Beyond that, Pricegrabber shows Sony’s own budget-priced Blu-ray player (the BDP-S350 1080p) as one of the top 3 searches over the weekend. Did they cannibalize PS3 sales with their own player in a similar price range? I think we’re seeing a case of what’s good for Sony the company not necessarily benefitting the games division.
Obviously holiday sales are a much longer battle than one weekend, but it looks like the industry may just be as resilient as we had all hoped. I’ve long held that Wii Fit will be the best software seller this season (hardly a bold prediction), and it looks like the very deserving Gears of War 2 will pull in second. Weren’t single console exclusives supposed to be go away?