Nintendo Wii trims lead over PS3 in Japan sales

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TOKYO, Nov 2 (Reuters) Nintendo Co Ltd's Wii game console outsold Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 by 2-to-1 in Japan in October, a game magazine publisher said, but its lead over the PS3 shrank for the fourth consecutive month.

Nintendo sold 110,415 units of the Wii in the four weeks to Oct. 28, compared with 47,183 units of the PS3, Enterbrain said on Friday.

The Wii, which features an innovative motion-sensing controller that allows gamers direct on-screen play by swinging it like a racket or sword, outsold the PS3 by more than 6-to-1 in Japan in June.

But the PS3, which suffered a slow start after its launch a year ago due to its high price and scarcity of strong game titles, has been closing the gap with the Wii in recent months as Sony cut console prices and beefed up its software lineup.

The Wii's narrowing lead in Japan is a welcome sign for Sony as the electronics and entertainment conglomerate heads into the crucial holiday season.

Sony's game business posted an operating loss of 96.7 billion yen (1.8 million) in July-September, while blistering demand for the Wii and the DS handheld player helped Nintendo zip past Sony and other corporate giants to become Japan's third-most valuable company.

During the same four weeks to Oct. 28, Microsoft Corp sold 18,717 units in Japan of its Xbox 360, which is popular overseas but struggling in the home turf of Nintendo and Sony, Enterbrain said.

REUTERS SR RS1643

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