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Nintendo: Wii grabs top spot in next-gen console wars

According to the video game giant, the latest NPD numbers show that its console has passed the Xbox 360 for most sales in the United States.

Nintendo's Wii is now said to be the top-selling next-generation video game console in the United States, having reached 10.9 million units sold during the month of June. CNET Networks

On Monday morning in Los Angeles, attendees at Microsoft's E3 press conference heard Xbox head Don Mattrick "declare" that that video game console would win the so-called next-generation console war.

But if the latest sales data put out by NPD mean anything, Microsoft's road to victory could be a little harder. That's because, according to Nintendo, the Wii in June surpassed the Xbox 360 to become the best-selling next-generation console in the United States.

According to Nintendo, NPD's numbers show that during June, the Wii hit 10.9 million units sold in the U.S.

In May, Microsoft announced the Xbox had hit 10 million units sold first, a milestone the company said has historically been reached by each console generation's eventual winner. And in its quarterly earnings release Thursday, Microsoft said it had sold 1.3 million Xboxes during the last quarter. But it's been clear for some time that the Wii is outselling both the Xbox and Sony's PlayStation 3 on a monthly basis. And given that the Xbox has been out a full year longer than the Wii or the PS3, Nintendo's news is all the more noteworthy.

Of course, in an interview Tuesday, Shane Kim, Microsoft's corporate vice president of strategy and business development for Microsoft's interactive entertainment business unit, told me that Mattrick's declaration applied only to the battle between the Xbox and the PS3. Mattrick himself didn't make any such clarifications during the press conference.

And in Kim's defense, it's true that most people think of the Xbox and the PS3 as being in a different category of video game console than the Wii, despite all three often being lumped together.

Additionally, Microsoft and Sony both surely have their own positive spins on NPD's numbers, though I haven't gotten those missives yet. Nintendo wins this round, at least, for quickest NPD-related press release (that I got, at least).

Either way, you have to tip your hat to Nintendo for the success of the Wii, and for the console's having reached the top spot in the U.S. For now, at least. Who knows what the next press release will say.