Based on the first 26 months of availability, the Wii is on its way to becoming the best-selling console of all time, a title currently held by the PlayStation 2, which has sold more than 50 million units in America and an estimated 140 million worldwide. In just over two years, the Wii outsold the PS2’s comparable initial sales by 10 percent, according to the NPD. That is, in the first 26 months of the Wii, Nintendo sold 17.5 million Wiis while Sony sold 15.9 million PS2s in the U.S. in the first 26 months of sales. If the sales pattern holds, we expect Nintendo to sell 55 million Wiis in America by 2014 and 154 million units worldwide.

By comparison, the PS3 sold 6.79 million units in the U.S. during the same initial 26-month period, compared to 6.75 million GameCubes, which finished a distant third last generation and forced Nintendo to rethink how it sold video games. Microsoft, for its part, sold 9.2 million Xbox 360s in the U.S. in its first 26 months, trailing Nintendo in a faraway second by a margin of 2 to 1 — the same position the company held last generation. But Microsoft has improved its fortunes: its latest machine sells 18 percent faster than its predecessor, according to NPD figures, and even turned a profit, something the original Xbox never did.

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