Nintendo 3DS (By Richard Drew/Associated Press)

The company reported Friday that it sold 303,000 units of the 3DS in the European Union, making it the fastest-selling handheld at launch in the company’s history. In the UK, the 3DS is now the UK’s fastest-selling console ever, beating out the Wii.

Nintendo has been fairly quiet about the 3DS sales in the United States — saying only that they were “record-breaking,” and promising to release the figures from the NPD Group at a later date.

The news from across the pond is great for Nintendo, which is sitting pretty at the top of gaming unit sales worldwide. But things are shifting in the console market.

On Thursday, industry Web site Gamasutra cited figures from retailer Gamestop that indicate that the Sony Playstation has edged out the Xbox 360 in Europe. The site also reported that Wii sales are expected to fall by just over 10 million units this year, dropping it to third place in the console wars.

That means the time is ripe for Nintendo to launch a Wii 2, especially given EA Games label head Frank Gibeau’s recent comments to IndustryGamers that he considers the Wii a “legacy console” like the PlayStation 2.

So, speculation has been flying that Nintendo will release a second Wii at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, but there has been no confirmation of those rumors.

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Nintendo says 3DS sales ‘best ever’ for handhelds

Nintendo announces 3DS game lineup for U.S.

Nintendo 3DS will hit U.S. stores March 27 for $249.99