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The Wii, which uses an innovative wireless controller to translate the players’ motions onto the screen, has upset the order of the video game world. In electronics stores and elsewhere, there are growing signs that the Wii has taken the lead in buzz and sales over another new console, the Sony PlayStation 3, which offers new superlatives in processing power and graphics. The competitive picture became clearer on Tuesday, when Sony reported disappointing profits that industry analysts attributed largely to the expensive and shaky rollout of the PlayStation 3 and lukewarm demand for the complex machines. By contrast, Nintendo said last week that its own third-quarter sales were up 40 percent from a year earlier, buoyed by Wii sales. Both consoles were hard to come by during the holiday shopping season. This week, visits to stores in San Francisco, New York, Boston and Austin, Tex., turned up several with PlayStation 3’s in stock, while the Wii was sold out. The PlayStation, reflecting Sony’s longstanding dominance, seemed destined to be the one that gamers would snap up. But the Wii is winning many converts who are playing games by moving not just their thumbs but the whole complement of limbs. “You’re up and you’re moving, and it makes you feel more involved,” said Tracy Ciardiello, 28, a stay-at-home mother in Berkeley Springs, W. Va., who bought one of the last Wiis available at a Wal-Mart nearby on Sunday morning. “After an hour, a thing pops on the screen that says, ‘Why not take a rest?’ That just made me laugh.” The Wii and the PlayStation 3 were both released in November and are competing with the Microsoft Xbox 360, also a more powerful game machine. It is a battle with immense stakes, given that the video game industry generated more than $12 billion in sales last year. It is too early to declare a winner. Video game industry analysts said one question hanging over the Wii was whether it was a fad, or whether it would end up creating a new generation of more casual game players — or even become a viable alternative to more powerful machines. But it appears that Nintendo has already created an unexpected three-way contest, while calling into question conventional wisdom that video games are the domain of testosterone-driven gadget freaks who can zone out for hours while conquering computer-generated foes. “Nintendo came at things sideways — they made stuff that’s silly and fun,” said Jeff Gerstmann, senior editor of GameSpot, a Web site with video game news and reviews. “It has created a new style of gaming.” Nintendo recently announced that during the holiday quarter, it shipped 3.2 million Wii consoles and sold 17.5 million games. Sony said it shipped 1.84 million PlayStation 3’s in the quarter, and sold 5.2 million copies of game software for the console. Nintendo might sell more Wiis if it could make and ship more of them. Company officials said they are shipping around a million worldwide every month, half of those to the United States, but retailers say they cannot keep them in stock.