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by Mike Zazaian October 5, 2006 - 6:13pm, 8 Comments

Nintendo May Ship 9 Million Wii Consoles by 2007

An analyst report from financial services company UBS is predicting that Nintendo may have as many as 9 million Wiis on shelves by year’s end.

The report estimates that Nintendo has already manufactured 2 million consoles, and stipulates that between seven and nine million will be available by the end of the year. Were Nintendo even to hit the predicted 7 million console mark, it would be an improvement over the company’s last official announcement of 6 million consoles shipping in 2006.

The figures were gathered by assessing sales of the Broadcom Corporation, the company that manufactures WiFi and Bluetooth components for the Wii. According to the UBS report, an notable increase in Broadcom’s sales likely indicates an influx of Wii consoles that Nintendo has yet to announce.

It’s been a quiet ride for the Wii over the past year, but Nintendo has done everything right along the way. Whereas all the buzz at the 2005 E3 convention surrounded the enormous processing power of the then upcoming Xbox 360 and the now heavily delayed Playstation 3, all of the positive media attention now sticks to the untouchable Wii.

By not going overboard on the Wii’s hardware, instead focusing on gameplay, Nintendo will produce nearly 20 times as many consoles by the end of 2006 as the PS3, its key competitor on Japanese soil. Multiply that number by the Wii’s generation-best $249 price tag ($217 in Japan) and Nintendo has the formula for a successful launch that will snatch millions of gamers from the Sony camp.

Sony will lose even the most dedicated Playstation fans with their meager half-million console launch. Unfortunately for Sony the effect of the poor launch will likely linger over the course of this gaming generation. With Nintendo shipping 20 times more consoles than Sony, Nintendo will be able to sell 20 times the games that Sony will be able to. And as Nintendo’s fan base grows, increasing profits will allow Nintendo to invest in even more games for the Wii, increasing its value while Sony struggles to release titles for the PS3. The result is cyclical, as even if Sony increases its production numbers within the next few years, Nintendo’s ability to publish more games to an expanded consumer base will increase the appeal of the Wii, making it harder for Sony to sell PS3 units as this generation of gaming progresses.

The reason I’ve yet to mention the Xbox 360 in this debacle is that on US soil it’s an apples-to-oranges scenario. Microsoft will continue to sell Xbox 360 consoles, and games, and with 10 million consoles out by last July they’ll be in good shape in US markets throughout the next half-decade. Xbox sales have been historically bad in Japan, however, with poor sales already prompting an Xbox 360 price drop from $299 to $255 in the Asian market. With numbers like these Xbox 360 isn’t even a contender over there. Although by shipping only 100,000 PS3 consoles to Japan, Sony will effectively usher Microsoft in through the back door, forcing themselves into last place on their home territory.

Nintendo has been the anti-Sony in this generation of gaming. They’ve done everything right that Sony has done wrong. Maybe they learned something from their poor Gamecube sales, maybe they’re just continuing to be the great game producers that they’ve always been. Either way, with a potential of 9 million consoles shipping world wide, Nintendo’s Wii has shown it will have the best-selling console this holiday season. With Microsoft shipping fewer than 5 million Xbox 360s in the second half of 2006, and Sony shipping less than half of that, Nintendo has and will continue to teach the gaming industry valuable lessons every step of the way.

[via ars technica]