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Analyst expects Wii U sales to top 50m in 4 years

Nintendo's new console forecast to outpace Wii during its launch window

Wii U will slightly outsell its predecessor in its first three months and go on to shift more than 50 million units by the end of 2016, a UK based analyst firm has suggested.

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Nintendo has about 5.5 million Wii U units available for the launch period ending April 2012, with stock constraints expected to be the only factor preventing further success during the first five months.

Analyst group IHS Screen Digest also predicts that about 53 million units will be sold in the console's first four full years on the market.

If such a milestone was met, that would put the machine's commercial performance close to the NES, which went on to sell 62 million units and was Nintendo's best selling console for 20 years.

But IHS senior principal analyst Piers Harding-Rolls says that, compared to the Wii, the new console will be tracking behind.

"Pent-up demand from Nintendo evangelists, many of which were introduced to the console market through the success of the Wii, is predicted to drive an explosive start for the Wii U," he said.

"There is no doubt the Wii U underlines Nintendo's credentials as an innovator, introducing the first dedicated and fully integrated second-screen game experience to the market. Yet the fragmented landscape for games consumption and the proliferation of always-on, connected devices, means that product innovation alone is not enough to stay relevant to today's mainstream consumer.

"This time around, Wii U's pure innovation, coupled with a limited volume of high-quality Nintendo software, will not be enough to drive the ongoing sales momentum we witnessed with the Wii console, especially at a higher price point," he added.

The Wii is poised to become the second-best selling console of all time. It's edging close to 100 million unit sales and is expected to be the first non-Sony console to outsell PSone.

However its rivals have fared well. Lifetime Xbox 360 and PS3 sales recently cleared 70 million units.

"Nintendo is still some way short of delivering a comprehensive engagement-led value proposition at the launch of the Wii U," Harding-Rolls added.

Nintendo has confirmed a Wii U release date of November 18 in the US, and a Wii U release date of November 30 in Europe. The company has set the US Wii U price at $299 for the basic model, while the UK Wii U price starts at £230.

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