Nintendo's 3DS led the gaming market in hardware sales last month, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said in a note to investors today.
Pachter said he believes that Nintendo sold 500,000 3DS units in March, besting the Xbox 360 and Wii, with 480,000 and 410,000 unit sales, respectively. The analyst estimates that PlayStation 3 March sales hit 380,000 units.
Actual sales figures will be announced later this week by research firm NPD.
If Nintendo only sold 410,000 Wii units, its sales would be down 26 percent year over year. Microsoft's unit sales, on the other hand, would be up 42 percent compared with March 2010, while Sony's hardware sales would be up by 21 percent.
But it's Nintendo's feat in the portable space that might be most impressive. The 3DS, which allows users to play 3D games without the need for special glasses, hit store shelves March 27 in the U.S. That gave it just five days to trump other gaming devices that were sitting on store shelves for the entire month.
Even better news for Nintendo, the company told CNET in a statement last month that the portable's launch-day sales figures in the U.S. were higher than any other mobile-gaming device it has ever launched, including the venerable Game Boy and DS.
Of course, the fact that the Nintendo 3DS sold well in March isn't all that surprising. When the device launched in Japan in February, reports out of that country said it sold out in its first weekend of availability.
The 3DS also contributed to stronger industry-wide hardware sales last month. According to estimates from Pachter, sales were up 6 percent in March for a total of 2.275 million units sold across all devices. However, he said that software sales were down 8 percent last month to $805 million.
Further reading: CNET's Nintendo 3DS review