Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has claimed that the Wii could exceed the lifetime sales of the PlayStation 2 – currently the most successful home console in history.
The Wii is currently outpacing both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in most major territories and is likely to gain the largest installed userbase of any home console worldwide within the next six months.
However, analysts have generally thought it unlikely that any console this generation could match or exceed the performance of the PlayStation 2, whose successful head start on the Xbox and GameCube, and greater range of exclusive titles, gave it a comfortable lead for the entire generation.
The PlayStation 2, which continues to outsell both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in the U.S. and Japan, has currently sold around 120 million units worldwide. In a new interview with Reuters
, Iwata commented, "Sony's PS2 sales of 100 million units is an extraordinary number that our home game console business has not achieved. But if we can make our bid to expand the gaming population a continued success, we could exceed that.”
Iwata was also dismissive of the possible impact of Sony’s $100 price cut
for the PlayStation 3 in the U.S. or the new slimline version of the PSP
. “"I wouldn't say there is no overlap between the group of customers Sony is targeting and the group of users that Nintendo is targeting. But that overlap is quite small," he commented.
Finally, Iwata also confirmed that Wii hardware sales are already profitable. Although rival console manufactures are often forced to wait for subsequent hardware refinements before making a profit on hardware Nintendo has traditionally always sought to at least break even from the launch of a new format.