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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 Playstation.com fell 8% in February to 1 million unique visitors, compared with the same month a year ago, Nielsen/NetRatings said. Traffic to Nintendo.com, on the other hand, soared by 91% year over year to 1.6 million visitors. Xbox.com 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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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing