Nintendo president Satoru Iwata says the Wii in Japan is in its 'most unhealthy condition
' since its launch there, but analysts say there's less reason to be concerned about the U.S. market.
Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian says U.S. Wii sales remain steady, and any slowdown here is just part of "seasonal sluggishness" in hardware overall.
"With recent data from Japan indicating a slowdown in Wii hardware, our checks in the U.S. still indicate fairly steady sell-through," he says.
Recent production increases mean the Wii is "widely available at retail," says the analyst, "attributable to production increases put in place last summer as well as a more normalized mid-cycle selling pattern."
April results should show new vigor for hardware sales, says Sebastian, thanks to the recent -- which analyst say could boost the system's sales 30 percent
-- and Nintendo's DSi launch.
And although price pressure on the PS3 is increasing
, Sebastian doesn't expect Sony to capitulate just yet. "We do not believe a PS3 price cut announcement is assured this spring, but in our view Sony will need to lower the price ahead of the holidays to avoid a further step down in market share," he says.