Shortages of Nintendo's Wii games console are benefiting the Japanese company's rivals Microsoft and Sony in the crucial run-up to Christmas in the US.
Nintendo sought to keep sales going at the end of last week by introducing "rain-check certificates" at GameStop video game stores, guaranteeing delivery to buyers of the sold-out console some time in January.
But retailers have reported that frustrated consumers are in some cases opting to buy Microsoft's Xbox 360 or Sony's PlayStation 3 instead.
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"We are benefiting from the fact that people are out shopping for the holidays and, if something is not available, we are in the market," said Jeff Bell, a vice-president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business.
Mr Bell said the top-end version of the 360, the Elite, was in very short supply along with special editions of the 360 bundled with games. He said its new budget console, the 360 Arcade, had been selling well at $280, which is $30 more than the Wii's retail price.
Sony said its PS3 enjoyed the biggest month-on-month sales increase of any of the consoles between October and November - units sold nearly quadrupled from 121,000 to 466,000 after it introduced a cheaper $399 version with a free copy of Spider-Man 3, the Blu-Ray DVD.
PS3 sales in November were still less than half those of the 981,000 achieved by the Wii, while the 360 sold 770,000 units that month. The PS3 has sold only 2.5m units in the US since its launch last year compared with more than 6m Wiis.
Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America president, said last week that the ongoing high demand for the Wii had meant that Nintendo was unable to stockpile units for pre-holiday sales during the summer months.
"The appeal of the Wii to non-gamers has taken away some of the seasonality of sales we had come to expect in the past," he said.
The Wii's broad appeal is likely to leave senior citizens as well as children disappointed this Christmas. The console has caught on in retirement homes across the US with such communities as Riderwood in Silver Spring, Maryland, organising Wii tournaments.
Over the Christmas period, Riderwood residents, whose average age is over 75, will take part in a Wii hunting, fishing, laser hockey, bowling and billiards pentathlon.
Mr Fils-Aime said production had been increased to 1.8m units a month, up from 1m at launch, with the US receiving more than half of global supplies in November.
He hinted that some of Nintendo's suppliers were putting a drag on production. "Production depends on components from a wide array of suppliers. If only one can't increase their capacity, we can't increase ours," Mr Fils-Aime said.