Microsoft's Xbox 360 Schools Nintendo's Wii U in the Holiday Sales Game

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Well, the gloating didn't last long.

Nintendo's (NTDOY) Reggie Fils-Aime -- the Japanese gaming giant's Nintendo of America president -- revealed on Monday that it sold 400,000 Wii U consoles since the system's launch last week. The company also sold 300,000 original Wii units last week, fueled by heavy "door buster" promotions for the older console at many leading retailers.

Microsoft (MSFT) decided to crash Nintendo's party on Tuesday, announcing that it sold 750,000 Xbox 360 systems during the Black Friday holiday weekend.

It's simple math. Microsoft sold 50,000 more Xbox systems than Nintendo sold Wii and Wii U boxes combined.

Well played, Mr. Softy.

Apples and Oranges

Microsoft has been the company behind the struggling video game industry's hottest console for the past year. Many assumed that Nintendo would overtake Microsoft in November, but that's apparently not going to happen.

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In Nintendo's defense, it's selling Wii U consoles as quickly as it can ship them out to retailers. Initial stocks sold quickly after the Nov. 18 debut of the next generation console that incorporates dual screens in many of its games. If Nintendo could have produced them faster, it probably would have sold more.

There's also the matter of price. The Wii U basic model sells for $300 -- far more than the entry-level Xbox. In other words, Nintendo probably outsold Microsoft in terms of hardware revenue.

However, since industry trackers tend to report industry numbers in terms of units sold, Nintendo is going to have to hope that production picks up in December if it wants a chance to at least temporarily wear the crown of market leadership.

Wii Mini to the Rescue?

There's also a now not-so-secret weapon in Nintendo's push to unseat Microsoft. The Wii Mini -- a compact version of the original Wii but without Internet access or backward compatibility with earlier GameCube games -- is set to hit some retailers on Dec. 7.

It may not be enough. Investors may be reluctant to invest in the original Wii platform, which is now six years old. Why buy something that won't play Wii U games? The lack of Internet connectivity means no digital purchases or video streaming.

Microsoft, on the other hand, hasn't gone public with any plans to update the Xbox 360 anytime soon. Diehard gamers will keep buying the system, knowing that it still has at least another year or two of publisher support.

Once again, Microsoft wins and Nintendo loses.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Nintendo and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft.
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