John Gaudiosi is a national journalist who has been covering the video game business for more than a decade. In addition to blogging for WRAL.com and covering the video game industry for WRAL Local Tech Wire, he also writes about gaming for Wired Magazine, The Washington Post, Xbox.com and Yahoo! Games.

CARY –
It was just a few years back with Nintendo struggling in a distant third-place with GameCube that many industry observers suggested the Japanese giant should go the way of Sega and leave the console business altogether. Nintendo instead turned to Shigeru Miyamoto to help design the Wii, which has been the hottest game console since it launched last November.

But Nintendo today is more than just a one-console wonder. Its Nintendo DS, which was a breakthrough, mass market hit long before the Wii was introduced, continues to blow away PSP in sales. This one-two punch of Nintendo DS in the handheld space and Wii in the console space has done more than just catapult Nintendo to the top of the pack–again.

It’s taken gaming to new gamers young and old, relapsed gamers and even senior citizens. In essence, Nintendo has expanded the very gaming audience and helped set new sales records in 2007 along the way.

The amazing thing about the totals for this year, once they’re all tabulated, is that Nintendo has not been able to keep up with demand for 13 months.

Imagine if there were more Wiis out there for consumers to purchase for $250 (rather than the inflated prices Ebay shoppers are paying). This year’s record books would really tell a story of how mainstream gaming is going.

The demand for Wii continues post-Christmas. And if Nintendo DS is any indication, that portable, which was hard to find at launch, is now readily available but still selling like hotcakes.

Traditionally, it’s been games that sell a platform. Killer apps that you can’t find anywhere else. But with Nintendo, both Nintendo DS and Wii are being sold more for their innovative harware features (the dual screen, touch pad and the motion-sensor controls).

There are plenty of good games, sure, but it’s the way people interact with these games that’s pushing both hardware offerings. PSP offers better visuals than Nintendo DS and both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 blow away Wii in the graphics department. But Sony and Microsoft are playing catch-up to Nintendo in the hardware department. Sony’s simplified SIXAXIS controller was introduced after the Wii phenomenon and Microsoft is rumored to be coming out with its own motion-sensor controller for Xbox 360.

But Nintendo is the clear leader now. They’ve even managed to get couch potato gamers off their butts and physically involved in games. Some gamers exert so much energy while playing that they end up burning a lot of calories. No parent or physician is going to complain about that.
2007 was definitely the Year of Nintendo. And if Wii and Nintendo DS continue their record pace, 2008 is likely to be a repeat.