While Microsoft is the company that's just been touting global console sales figures, it may well be Nintendo's Wii that has the largest installed base for a new generation console.
17.7 million Xbox 360s have been sold worldwide since launch, according to Microsoft. Using the figures currently available and a bit of educated guesswork, it's not unreasonable to suggest that the Wii has topped that figure - despite having been on sale for a year less than the 360.
According to Reuters news agency, by the end of September last year the 360 had sold 13.4 million units. The Wii, meanwhile, was a smidgeon behind with 13.2 million units sold. That means that to have exceeded the 360's sales, more than 4.5 million Wiis needed to have been sold since then, while 4.3 million 360s have been sold in that period.
There's no sales data from NPD for the US in December yet, but we know that 1.5 million Wiis were sold over the October/November period.
In Japan, meanwhile, 1.34 million Wiis were sold in those two months according to Enterbrain. Add in weekly sales figures from Media Create and you've got at least another 0.6 million consoles sold.
That brings the known total up to 3.44 million units sold since the end of September. To trump the 360's total, then, Nintendo needs to have sold 1.06 million Wiis spread between PAL territories since the end of September and America in December only.
While there have been notorious shortages of the Wii in certain areas, it seems like a good bet that Nintendo will have accomplished that.
For the record, VG Chartz puts the Wii's global sales figure at 19.5 million. The fact that it has the 360's total at the end of 2007 at just over 16 million, however, shows that VG Chartz figures need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Unless, of course, the 360 has sold 1.7 million units in the last three and a half days.
the reason this is good for the wii is...3rd party game developers will start to make some good games for the wii. why wouldn't they want to? if the most people have the wii that means more people can buy games for it.