Early estimates by CNBC via data falsely attributed to NPD suggests that both Microsoft and Nintendo had a jolly holiday season while the PS3 ... eh ... not so much. A new analyst preview of upcoming NPD stats from Lazard Capital implies the same:

"Our checks indicate that Nintendo's Wii console continues to sell well, while Sony PS3 supplies improved somewhat towards the end of the holiday period. We believe Microsoft's Xbox 360 is on track to reach our 2006 sales estimate of 4.5 million units in the U.S., while Nintendo's Wii will likely exceed our original 1.2 million-unit target. Our estimate for PS3 sales in the U.S. for 2006 remains 700k units."

The report also estimates total industry growth of software on the year at 5%. And to put an end to early personal observations and case study performance reports, look for NPD's year-end sales data available Jan 11. Hoo-ra.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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