Sony PlayStation Web Traffic Down; Nintendo Wii Soars

Nielsen/NetRatings suggests price and a focus on average customers is helping Nintendo's numbers.
Traffic to the PlayStation Web site fell in February, while its rivals the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Wii posted double-digit growth, according to a report issued Tuesday.

Visits to fell 8% in February to 1 million unique visitors, compared with the same month a year ago, Nielsen/NetRatings said. Traffic to, on the other hand, soared by 91% year over year to 1.6 million visitors. traffic rose by 47% in the same timeframe to 1.2 million visitors.

Nintendo has reported strong sales for its Wii console, an indication that the company's strategy of targeting average consumers instead of hard-core gamers is working. Sony, on the other hand, got off to a bad start with PSP3 after a component shortage delayed shipments. The company, however, appears to be back on track and says it expects to ship 6 million units by the end of the month. Both vendors shipped their products in November, while Microsoft shipped Xbox 360 a year earlier.

While the PlayStation packs far more computing power than the Wii, the cost of the machine is about twice as much, making it more of a device for hard-core gamers. The basic price of the PlayStation is $500 in the United States, while the Wii sells for $250.

In January, Nintendo was the best-selling console in the United States, as video game fans bought 436,000 units, according to market researcher NPD.

Nielsen/NetRatings also reported that more than a third of U.S. adults own a video game console, and nearly 16% own a portable console. The numbers reflect how game consoles are no longer just for children, but have become an integral part of U.S. home entertainment systems.

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