Sony reported its latest financial results overnight, and the numbers put the PlayStation 3 back atop the worldwide console market for the March quarter. But that ain’t saying much.

In a sign of the current weakness of the game console market, the PS3 reclaimed the title despite seeing its unit sales decline to 1.9 million units, slipping from 2.1 million units in the same quarter a year ago.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which has been dominating the U.S. market and won the head-to-head worldwide sales race for the first time in 2011, saw its sales fall nearly 50 percent in the latest quarter, to 1.4 million, according to Microsoft’s recent financial results.

And the Wii finished the quarter with less than 1 million units sold for the first time since its launch, as Nintendo posted its first annual loss. Nintendo is counting on the upcoming launch of the Wii U to help reverse its fortunes.

The big question is whether this is a cyclical trend, as the consoles approach the end of their life cycles, or something more structural. Mobile phones and tablets are becoming bigger platforms for games. The consoles also face broader competition from other types of living-room devices as they morph into multipurpose machines for streaming shows and movies.

Earlier this week, Microsoft made a bid to juice Xbox 360 unit sales by cutting the price of a 4GB Xbox 360 with Kinect to $99 with a two-year Xbox Live subscription. If the current sales trends continue, look more of that type of creativity from the major console makers.

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  • Guest

    “The big question is whether this is a cyclical trend, as the consoles approach the end of their life cycles, or something more structural.”

    It’s both. But the concerning part for console makers is that the second one isn’t easily addressed.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Sony on retaking the lead in the console race! Between Blu-Ray, streaming, and of course games, I can’t think of one box that does more for my TV.

  • Nowhere

    Not impressed. Skyrim for PS3 was so buggy  I had to get it for my Brothers XBOX and I’ve been locked out of the Mass 3 bonus weekends for over a month now because PS3 continues to suck and SONY only recently worked something out with Bioware. My SONY love has its limits. Ive come to the realization I just don’t want to support them any more.

    • Beavo_

       Sucks to be you, I have beat skyrim 5x over on mu ps3 with very little issues.

      • Beavo

         but you are correct about ME3 :'(

  • BlueTransAm838

    Lead or no lead with Microsoft you still dealing with a Corp. that fight a different way. They will lessen quality to win a war. And their 3rd party rules that 3rd parties have to sign show that. So With knowing that even when Sony passes up Microsoft again this gen. Going into PS4 they have to look at their hardware a new way. Because you know Microsoft is not trying to win the good of gaming, their trying to win more money or sales, and thus their going to put things down like a dumb down down policy in writing again. 

  • Acegoku

    Wow… The wii had a lot of sales at the beginning

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