An analysis of the current console sale numbers finds that Nintendo's once hot system may have passed its prime.

The L.A. Times has an in-depth and interesting article up on the current state of Nintendo's Wii console, especially as its sales compare with the other major current-gen consoles. The article points out that U.S. sales of the Wii are down 24% in the first 10 months of 2010, when compared to the same period last year. That puts the system in third place behind the PS3 and 360. Both those competing systems have seen significant increases in sales during the same time frame.

The decreased sales have hit Nintendo hard, especially since the Wii has never managed to garner the sort of third-party support that other consoles have received. Without the royalties connected to big third-party game sales, Nintendo is left to carry most of the system's profitability on console and first-party game sales.

As the article points out, it'd be a mistake to count out Nintendo based on these current numbers. Nintendo will shortly debut the 3DS, a handheld gaming device that delivers true 3D without the need for glasses. Given Nintendo's previous success in the handheld market, it's not hard to predict yet another change in fortune for Nintendo in the coming year.