By Jon Fortt
July 19, 2007

Nintendo’s Wii sales in Japan appear to be pulling further ahead of Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360, game marketing outfit Enterbrain reports, with the Wii chalking up sales of more than 3 million units since it hit store shelves there December 2.

By comparison, the PS3 went on sale November 11, and Sony has moved just over 1 million boxes in Japan. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gets no love in Japan; Enterbrain says it has yet to find a half million buyers. The numbers are as of July.

Enterbrain says its numbers on the Japanese gaming market come from a network of 3,200 retail stores and 31,000 other franchise and convenience stores.

The numbers are yet another feather in Nintendo’s cap, and more evidence of a sea change in the gaming business. Many had counted Nintendo out of the console wars, deriding the game maker’s consoles for graphics that are less impressive than what Sony and Microsoft deliver. But in the past year, Nintendo delivered a simple, stripped down and affordable console with an easy-to-use motion-sensitive controller. Casual gamers, apparently sick of consoles that are as expensive as a jet fighter and nearly as complicated to operate, flocked to Nintendo’s Wii.

Both Sony and Microsoft’s gaming units have suffered setbacks of late. Sony announced a $100 price cut on the PS3 earlier this month, only to admit a bit later that the cut applies only to a version of the console that it has stopped manufacturing. And this week Microsoft lost popular games chief Peter Moore to Electronic Arts (ERTS), just days after admitting that design problems with the Xbox 360 could cost Microsoft up to $1 billion.

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