The Microsoft Xbox 360 has overtaken the Nintendo Wii as the most searched video game console on the Web, a metrics firm said Friday. The increase in traffic apparently is to due to a combination of hype for new games, rumors of a price drop, and queries about recent hardware problems.
The Xbox 360 surpassed the Wii for the first time since the latter console's launch in November 2006, the same month Sony released the PlayStation 3, Hitwise said in its corporate blog. Microsoft shipped the Xbox 360 a year earlier.
While Microsoft's Xbox surpasses the Wii in overall sales volume, Nintendo's Wii has posted the fastest growth in market share. Online searches are sometimes a sales indicator. "We often find that Internet searches are a leading indicator and can be predictive of future sales growth," Hitwise said.
Based on search terms, the recent warranty extension issued by Microsoft due to an "unacceptable" number of repairs reported by Xbox customers wasn't the top driver behind the increase, Hitwise said. Xbox 360 led the list of top 10 search terms that included Xbox 360. Other top terms were "Xbox 360 games" and "Xbox 360 price drop." Terms such as "Xbox 360 problems" or "Xbox 360 repair" were number 13 and 15, respectively.
Meanwhile, The NPD Group reported this week that the Wii continued to outpace the competition in sales in June. Nintendo sold 381,800 Wii consoles, compared with Sony's 98,500 PlayStation 3s and Microsoft's 198,400 Xbox 360 machines. Sales of all console hardware in June increased 69% from the same period a year ago to $268 million, NPD said. Year-to-date sales were up 98% to $1.7 billion.