Despite being launched nearly a year later, the Wii is on course to overtake the Xbox360 in terms of all-time total global sales; since its launch in November 2005, the latter has sold 17.7m units worldwide and, although Christmas figures for the Wii are still not in, early indications suggest it will pip Microsoft to the post.
The fact that Nintendo has no plans to ratchet up production in the near future suggests it is being cautious, fearing that a stockpile of consoles could destroy the buzz surrounding the product. It has no intention of following in the footsteps of Bandai, the company behind the Tamagotchi virtual pets that were popular in the late 1990s; it too was unable to meet demand but, by the time it had stepped up production, consumers had lost interest and Bandai ended up having to cut its pre-tax profit forecast by 95%.
Both Nintendo and Microsoft will be buoyed by Sony's beleaguered PlayStation3. Software releases have been patchy and big hitting games have underperformed, despite the fact that the console is by far the most sophisticated. To make matters worse, the company's flagship virtual world – Sony Home – is still nowhere to be seen after suffering successive delays.
Until Sony can sort out its woes, the console wars will centre around two competitors. All eyes are now on whether Microsoft can sustain its newfound success as the halo effect of the world's biggest game release begins to dim. Meanwhile Nintendo will be hoping the millions of customers who were unable to get a Wii for Christmas don't stay disgruntled for long.