Obviously I'm exaggerating, but the Wii does have many characteristics of popular mainstream fads. It's instantaneously accessible, it's unlike anything you've tried before, and it's great fun to share with friends. In short, it's everything Nintendo said it would be and it has captured the world's imagination. The only downside is that the world is easily distracted. Tickle Me Elmo captured the world's attention at one point, as did Furbies. They were both instantly accessible, were unlike anything people had seen before, and were fun to share with friends. But a year later, after everyone had seen them and tried them out, their popularity waned.
The Wii is currently riding on a massive wave of mainstream attention and has been purchased by lots of people who don't normally play games. But how many of those people who are hooked on Wii Sports will also buy Wii Need For Speed? Mainstream fads usually run their course within a year. As the honeymoon period fades, the Wii will be going up against more and more graphically impressive games on the PS3 and Xbox 360. More people will be buying HD televisions and looking for the most immersive and stunning experiences available. For these reasons, I think the Wii will be more successful than the GameCube or N64 but in the long run will still be outsold by the PS3.
This article was written in March, 2007, by Insomniac Games' Brian Hastings. It was titled, "10 Reasons Why PS3 Will Win This Console Generation." This was the dominant opinion throughout most of the video game industry in 2006, and 2007, and, yes, even through 2009. I think this story - Nintendo's meteoric success, and the industry's spectacular failure to anticipate and respond to it - is the most compelling story in video games today. I've never seen anything quite like it.