By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: GfK data has confirmed that the Nintendo DS Lite handheld gaming device was the number one selling games console in 2006, eclipsing all three other next generation consoles.

The Nintendo Wii broke the record for the number of consoles sold on launch, and continued selling well throughout the Christmas period, chalking up 604,200 unit sales.

Research firm, NPD Group, stated that Microsoft sold 1.1 million of the competing Xbox 360 gaming consoles in December – the best Xbox 360 sales month so far — while Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3) console registered 687,700 sales since launch on 17 November in the USA.

The 687,700 PS3 sales were well short of the one million consoles sold into the US market by Sony which was recently claimed at CES in Las Vegas.

The established nature of the Xbox 360 market and its subsequently secure stream of stock has no doubt aided the console in achieving its Christmas sales bonanza, with both Nintendo and Sony experiencing stock shortages which no doubt impacted on overall sales. 

“There was clearly a huge dearth of inventory of PS3s,” NPD analyst, Anita Frazier, told the Associated Press, adding her belief that Sony could have sold “multiples” of its Christmas sales figure, had stock been available.

“This was the biggest month yet for Xbox 360 hardware sales, but is pretty in line with what an established system can do during the holidays.

“Xbox 360 is now poised to really take advantage of its lead in this generation’s race, provided they (and third-party supporters) keep bringing the games to market that keep consumers wanting to play on that system,” Frazier said.

The highest selling console overall for Christmas was Sony’s PlayStation 2 console, which sold 1.4 million units.

Interestingly, the best selling game was the Xbox 360 title, Gears of War.