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Nintendo dominates video game hardware sales in July

The Japanese company's Wii and DS machines lead all devices, but Sony's PlayStation 3 sold more in July than Microsoft's Xbox 360.

As always, when video game industry research firm The NPD Group puts out its monthly numbers, each of the big hardware companies--Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony--find their own unique positive spin, regardless what the numbers show.

But with the July numbers, which were released Thursday, there's little question that Nintendo gets the biggest bragging rights.

That's because, according to NPD, Nintendo's DS handheld gaming machine and its Wii console far outsold any competition from Sony or Microsoft.

NPD reported that the DS sold 608,400 units in July, while the Wii moved 555,000 machines. No other gaming device even made it to 300,000.

These days, however, it's no surprise when the Wii leaves its competitors in the dust. Microsoft and Sony both find ways to claim next-generation console supremacy, but more and more you hear them taking the position that the Wii is not in the same category of machine as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Which, in all honesty, is probably a fair thing to say. But since both Microsoft and Sony originally lumped the Wii in with their own machines, it's a little disingenuous when they do make the argument.

For its part, Sony gets to spend at least a month crowing that the PS3 outsold the Xbox. According to NPD, the PS3 sold 224,900 units in July, while the Xbox did 204,800 sales.

It may not put the PS3 on the same level for lifetime sales as the Xbox--which is far ahead--but it provides Sony executives reason to believe that things could really be turning around for their beleaguered console.

Microsoft, on the other hand, took the opportunity of the NPD numbers release to tout some numbers it considers brag-worthy.

In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, Microsoft said that since the November 2005 launch of the Xbox 360, gamers have plopped down $10.4 billion on the platform in the United States, a 49 percent total share of what I assume it means is the next-generation console market for hardware and software.

Additionally, it said that the Xbox has achieved a record-setting attach rate of 7.9 games per console sold.

Still, Microsoft, which said last month at E3 that it was "declaring" that it would win the console wars, must be wondering what it means to watch the PS3 start to outsell it.