Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter expects Nintendo’s upcoming Wii MotionPlus peripheral to sell over ten million units in Europe and the US this year.
“I think around 20 percent of Wii owners in the US and Europe will have bought Wii Sports Resort, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 or EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis,” which will come bundled with the Wii Remote add-on, “so that’s around eight million,” he told Edge. “I think another two million will buy MotionPlus with new consoles.
“I expect MotionPlus to be a sneaky success (like Wii Fit), and ultimately attach to at least one third of the [Wii's] installed base,” he added.
Meanwhile, EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich was slightly more cautious in his short-term sales estimates, although he expects the add-on to be largely successful in the long run.
“At this time, we do know that pre-orders are relatively strong, compared to other Wii products,” he told Edge. “By the end of the holidays, the Wii MotionPlus install base in North America and Europe should be well over three million. Of course, our forecast could be conservative… Yearly sales could balloon much higher.
“For the Wii MotionPlus, we currently expect the install base to reach over 11 million units by the end of Nintendo’s next fiscal year in March 2011, a 15 percent penetration.”
Both analysts also commented on Ubisoft’s plan to release the first (announced) MotionPlus-only title, Red Steel 2, later this year. The game’s creative director has already said that the decision not to support regular Wii controllers is “a huge risk” based on the difficulty of predicting MotionPlus market penetration.
“Ubisoft’s decision is incredibly risky,” said Divnich, “but there are certain benefits to developing a title just for MotionPlus over a hybrid control system. Ubisoft will be able to reduce development costs and time by only having to focus on one controller scheme. The time saved by having to only focus on one controller layout will allow them to expand Red Steel 2 even further, likely increasing review scores.”
With a forecast MotionPlus installed base of around ten million units come the action title’s release, Pachter feels “Red Steel 2 may come along at precisely the right time, around when people are ready for another [MotionPlus] game.
“The risk is really more a function of competition, compounded by the risk that Ubisoft could make a bad game,” he added. “If there is a highly rated Star Wars game out at the same time that uses MotionPlus, Red Steel 2 sales could suffer.”
Both analysts expect Red Steel 2 to come bundled with the peripheral, with Pachter saying “Ubisoft wouldn’t have made the game MotionPlus-only without that as a condition.”
Divnich added: “If Ubisoft can create a compelling title and get the MotionPlus packaging, Red Steel 2 could become a breakout hit in the holiday season. Currently, we forecast Red Steel 2 to sell over 1.2 million units by the end of Ubisoft’s fiscal year in March 2010, but we do note that there could be a great fluctuation to our estimate, more so than any other Ubisoft title, due to the unpredictability of demand in the Wii market.”