The Nintendo Wii is expected to overcome Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3) to become the new-generation video-game console with the world’s largest installed base in 2008.
That’s according to recent research from iSuppli Corp, which today estimated the global installed base for the Wii will rise to 30.2 million units in 2008, up from 18 million in 2007, on its strong appeal to casual gamers.
The company estimated total 2008 sales for the Xbox 360, the 2007 new-generation video-game console install base leader at 18.2 million units, at 25.7 million units in 2008. ISuppli estimated PS3 sales will reach 20.3 million in 2008, up from 2007’s 10.3 million.
“The Wii’s performance illustrates the success of Nintendo’s strategy of targeting casual users with an inexpensive console and entertaining titles, rather than addressing hard-core gamers by offering highly sophisticated and spectacular titles and systems,” said Pam Tufegdzic, research analyst for multimedia content and services at iSuppli, in a statement. “In this stage of the new-generation video-game console market, consumers are showing they’d rather be entertained and pay less for their consoles than shell out more for the latest and greatest technology.”
The research company noted that while hard-core gamers have traditionally been the target for most video-game console and software makers in the past, this is changing due to the rising numbers of casual gamers. ISuppli defined a casual gamer as someone who doesn’t play games every day, but who occasionally will play for an hour or two, and noted that the types of games that appeal to such users are easy to play without much of a learning curve. The Wii system, its MEMS-based controllers, and its growing portfolio of easy-to-play games are well suited for the casual gamer, iSuppli said.
As such, the installed base for the Wii is expected to grow to 37.7 million units by 2011, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3% from 2007, iSuppli said.
Game not over for PS3, Xbox 360
Still, hard-core users aren’t going away, iSuppli reported, estimating that in 2011, the installed base of the PS3 will exceed that of the Wii at 38.4 million units in 2011, rising at a CAGR of 39% from 2007. By 2011, the Xbox 360 will grow to 32.3 million installed base units, rising at a CAGR of 15.4% from 2007, iSuppli data showed.
However, iSuppli reported that while the PS3 will take the lead by 2011, the percentage of the installed base controlled by the three consoles will be near even. The PS3 in 2011 will account for 35.4% of the installed base, while the Wii will take 34.8% and the Xbox 360 will be at 29.8%, iSuppli predicted.