Nintendo Wii

It’s been almost four years since Nintendo changed the gaming landscape forever with the release of their motion-control sales monster, the Wii. After putting on what was easily the best press event at this year’s E3, Nintendo sent out an announcement today that should, at least for the moment, quiet cynics who refuse to give the Wii the credit it deserves.

That announcement? The Wii has “sold 30 million units in the United States alone.” Supposed “hardcore” gamers and journalists who continue to suggest that Nintendo should get out of the hardware game can put that number in their console and play it.

Nintendo also pointed out that by hitting this sales mark after a mere 45 months, a full 15 months faster than any other console before it, the Wii maintains a tight grip on the title of “fastest-selling console in the history of the industry.”

Let’s really put that into perspective for a moment. After announcing their recent yearly results, we learned that Microsoft has reportedly sold 41.7M units of the Xbox 360, while Sony has sold 38.1M PlayStation 3’s. Did I mention that those figures are for worldwide sales? Sony has only moved 8.1M more consoles globally than Nintendo has in just the United States. Still think Nintendo should just stick to making games? The Wii currently sits in second place, to Nintendo’s own Nintendo DS, with 73M units sold worldwide.

Like it or not, the Wii has managed to introduce the world of video games to players who never would have considered picking up a controller before Nintendo’s waggle-wand came along. Combine the broad range of accessibility with the sweet-spot pricing, and the formula behind the Wii’s success doesn’t appear to be some luck-of-the-draw occurrence, but rather a fantastically conceived and executed plan by one of the oldest companies in the business.

Short-sighted gamers can act too cool for the Wii all they want, but that doesn’t change the fact that some of the most intriguing experiences around have materialized on the little console that could. Wii Bowling continues to be the ultimate way to liven up a dead party, and games like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Dead Space: Extraction offer gameplay on par with even some of the best titles on the other two, technologically beefier, consoles.

Wii doomsayers, who love to point out declining Wii sales and prophesize the end of the console, need to take a look at this reality check. The PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 have only recently started to gain ground on the Wii month-to-month. At the same time, they are both now scrambling to jump into the market created by the Wii. With the mixed responses from players and the media regarding the Kinect and the Move, Nintendo doesn’t really need to be in a hurry to change course or release the Wii’s successor. So, hats off to Nintendo and their rather impressive milestone.

What does the Rant crowed think? Did you ever think the Wii would have the industry impact that it has? What does a sales achievement like this mean for Nintendo and the games industry?

tags: Nintendo

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