Following the strong January sales performance
of the Nintendo Wii reported earlier this week, investment firm Merrill Lynch now predicts that over a quarter of all U.S. households will own a Wii by 2011.
According to a news report
by the Financial Times, Merrill Lynch analyst Yoshiyuki Kinoshita anticipates that by the year 2011, a third of all Japanese households will own a Wii, while 30 percent of U.S. households will also own Nintendo's latest console.
U.S. sales data from the NPD Group this week found that the Wii sales exceeded both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in January, with 436,000 Wii consoles sold during January and the first week of February, putting the system's cumulative hardware sales through the first month of 2007 at 1,516,000 according to Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter. By comparison, the Xbox 360 sold 294,000 units, while the PlayStation 3 sold 244,000 units in the U.S. during the same period.
The Financial Times report also cites Japanese magazine publisher and market researcher Enterbrain, which suggests that Nintendo's Wii accounted for an impressive 68 percent of the nearly 600,000 game consoles sold in Japan in January, with the PlayStation 3 (25 percent) and the Xbox 360 (7 percent) making up the remainder.
The report also notes that some analysts who previously viewed the Wii as a short term fad or gimmick could be changing their stance based on these latest figures. “There has always been a strong concern that the Wii was gimmicky,” commented Credit Suisse analyst Jay Defibaugh, “but each passing month assuages that.”