Sony PS3 outsells Nintendo Wii in March in Japan

A man looks at a 3D LCD TV at the Sony Playstation booth during the Taipei Game Show 2009 in Taipei February 12, 2009. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp's 6758.T PlayStation 3 outsold Nintendo Co Ltd's 7974.OS Wii in March for the first time in 16 months in Japan thanks to hot new PS3 titles from Sega Sammy 6460.T and Capcom 9697.T, a game magazine publisher said.

Video game sales are closely watched for hints on how soon Sony can turn around its struggling game operations and how much growth momentum Nintendo has left.

Domestic sales of the PS3 came to 146,948 units in the five weeks through March 29, compared with 99,335 units of the Wii and 43,172 units of Microsoft Corp's MSFT.O Xbox 360, Enterbrain said on Monday.

The latest versions of popular action adventure series from Sega Sammy Holdings Inc and Capcom Co Ltd -- “Ryu Ga Gotoku 3” and “Resident Evil 5,” respectively -- came in first and second in game software sales in the period, helping drive PS3 demand.

Mizuho Investors Securities analyst Etsuko Tamura said that despite its strong showing in March, the PS3 is unlikely to threaten the Wii’s global dominance as more software makers are focusing development resources on the Wii, a console with the largest user base among the current generation of hardware.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka