Nintendo vs. Sony: Will Wii Shortages be PS3's Gain?

"Our purchase intent studies do show that there are quite a number of consumers that are indeed price sensitive, and indicated they would wait for a price cut to make a purchase," Frasier said. "The combination of the price cut and entering the all-important holiday season should result in a substantial increase in sales of PS3 hardware."

Although unconfirmed reports are circulating today that the PS3 has managed for the first time to outsell the Wii in Japan, NPD's most recent sales figures paint a picture of a strong position for a Nintendo that is still on top. About 121,000 PS3s were sold in the United States in October, according to NPD. Nintendo sold more than four times that with 519,000.

But could the tide turn for Sony?

Rob Enderle, the principal analyst at the Silicon Valley-based Enderle Group, said he believes Nintendo is missing out big by not having enough stock this holiday season.

"The fallover is on the product you can pick up. The reality is by not having enough product they're missing out on market share. … If you don't have enough product, it benefits somebody else," Enderle said. "This is not a market that's particularly patient."

The shortages are especially problematic for the Wii during the holidays, Enderle said, because the console is marketed to families, and families are so often gathered together during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.

"Sales drop off on consoles after the end of the year. Wii plays more to family purchase," he said. "But by buying it during January, people won't be able to go in the 'way back' machine" and bond over games of Wii Tennis.

But for people determined to get their hands on a Wii, there is hope. Consumers just need to act fast, meaning before this Friday, he said. Shoppers may also have luck with existing stock at gaming stores in shopping malls.

"It's worth when you're out and around [to check] some of these places that have these games, but don't get the gamers in," he said. "But after Black Friday that's pretty much all going to go bye-bye."

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