Nintendo's Wii is expected to displace Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 as the new-generation video game console with the world's largest installed base.

The global installed base for the Nintendo Wii will rise to 30.2 million units in 2008, up from 18 million in 2007, according to research firm iSuppli. This will put the Wii ahead of the Xbox 360's total of 25.7 million units in 2008.

This will mark the first time the Wii has taken the installed-base lead among the new generation of home video game consoles, a market consisting of the Wii, Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 and the Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3.

The Wii's performance illustrates the success of Nintendo's strategy of targeting casual users with an inexpensive console and entertaining titles, rather than addressing hard-core gamers by offering highly sophisticated and spectacular titles and systems, said Pam Tufegdzic, research analyst for multimedia content and services at iSuppli.

In this stage of the new-generation video game console market, consumers are showing they'd rather be entertained and pay less for their consoles than shell out more for the latest and greatest technology.

Hard-core gamers traditionally have been the target for most video game console and software makers. However, this is beginning to change due to the rising numbers of casual gamers. A casual gamer is defined as someone who doesn't play games every day, but occasionally will play for an hour or two.

The types of games that appeal to such users are easy to play without much of a learning curve.

The Nintendo Wii is perfectly suited for the casual gamer with its mass-market appeal, its fun motion-sensor controllers and its quickly growing portfolio of games.

The installed base for the Nintendo Wii will grow to 37.7 million units by 2011, rising at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20.3 percent from 2007.