Bless VG Charts for laying it out so starkly: with 4.24 million units sold worldwide, the Nintendo Wii now has just under 50% of Microsoft 360’s 8.76 million installed base. Thing is, it took the 360 about 15 months to get that large a base, while the Wii reached half of that in three months. At this rate (if momentum holds), the Wii will eclipse the 360 before the end of 2007.
It’s probably too early to judge, but this is likely to dash Microsoft’s hopes to have the dominant “living room PC”. At the very least, the latest figures upend a lot of assumptions on that front.
Against Sony’s PS3, sure, the 360 dominates— it’s far and away the leading Net-enabled, HDTV-powered, all-in-one multimedia box. And while the Wii has far less of those features, it does come equipped with Opera web browsing, which makes it at least somewhat competitive in the “living room PC” sector. Meantime, the Wii’s massive install base means that publishers will clamor to develop titles for the platform, and more Wii titles means more sales— and less attention to the 360. (Especially since the 360 is currently defined on the market as the system for hardcore gamers, while the Wii is explicity targeted at, well, everyone.)
Of course, it’s too early to make any definitive conclusions, especially with all the challenges the Wii has, to keep the lead. Read Jason McMaster’s great round-up, for a look at those.