Report: PlayStation 3 could be top-selling next-gen console by 2011

The much-maligned video game console could emerge from its doldrums in three years, but for now Nintendo's Wii looks to be the dominant machine.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read
While it will be in third place among next-gen consoles during 2008, the Play Station 3 could emerge as the top-selling console by 2011. Sony Computer Entertainment of America

For more than a year, the whole world has seen Sony's PlayStation 3 get its rear handed to it by Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360.

But if a three-year forecast from market research firm iSuppli is to be believed, the PS3 could out pace both the Wii and the Xbox by 2011.

Since its release in November 2006, the Wii has been the most successful of the next-gen consoles, far eclipsing Microsoft's Xbox 360 and leaving the PS3 in the dust.

But because the Xbox had a full year's head start on both the Wii or the PS3, it still had the overall sales lead.

Now, however, that lead looks imperiled, and according to a report in Information Week, the Wii could soon become the overall sales leader among the three consoles.

The article cited market research firm iSuppli as determining that by the end of 2008, the Wii will have sold a total of 30.2 million units, 17.5 percent higher than the projected 25.7 million Xboxes Microsoft will have sold.

But the really interesting news in the iSuppli report is a forecast that by 2011, the PS3 could be the top console. The research firm predicted that by the end of 2011, the PS3 could have sold 38.4 million units, while the Wii might be in second place at 37.7 million.

Of course, three-year forecasts have about as much chance of being right in electronics as predictions of who will win the World Series in three years.

Still, for anyone to put their name to a forecast that the PS3 could emerge from its doldrums is actually quite noteworthy. And for me, it's a hint of future validation since in the fall of 2006, I wrote a story suggesting that the PS3 would be the eventual winner of the next-gen console wars.

Shortly thereafter, of course, that suggestion made me look rather foolish when Sony's much-publicized problems with production and overpricing got the PS3 off to an extremely poor start. And with the surprise success of the Wii, my prediction looked even more foolish, even though Sony said from day one that it views its consoles as 10-year plays.

And of course, iSuppli's forecast could be just as far off base as mine was. But the fact that it is willing to make such a prognostication here, in 2008, is gratifying. Even if it's a bit mystifying.