Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes a higher spec, HD-enabled "Wii 2" could be on the shelves "in a couple of years".
Pachter's comments came in response to those made by SEGA executive Scott Steinberg, who expressed concern about the long term future of Nintendo's console.
"I think that a lot of people consider the Wii a "fad", and attribute that conclusion to the type of people who have been attracted to the Wii so far," Pachter said, observing that many publishers "don't know what to do with" the new demographics of female and older gamers.
"Sega, of course, has games like Sonic that resonate well with this audience, so I'm not singling them out as having an issue, but it appears to me that these non-traditional consumers baffle most of the publishers," he continued.
"As they are unaccustomed to dealing with them this early in the cycle, they have to justify their oversight in not anticipating the strength of the Wii with this group by labelling the group as having no staying power, resulting in the labelling of the Wii as a fad."
With regard to Steinberg's suggestion that developers are reaching the limits of creative possibility when it comes to the Wii's remote control, Pachter said, "I can't begin to imagine what is on the drawing board for the Wii, but I can say that most developers I've spoken with are extemely excited about the potential for the console... I believe that we've only just scratched the surface.
"Also, Scott's analysis presupposes that we have seen the last in hardware innovation from Nintendo," he went on.
"I disagree. It's easy to envision a Wii 2 in a couple of years that runs at full HD, and has both a Wii-mote and an analog controller, so that all games can be ported to it.
"If Nintendo were to introduce such a device, it would be fully comparable to the Xbox 360 - perhaps it wouldn't have Blu-ray, so a comparison to the PS3 may be unfair - and would likely have most of the same third party content as the other two devices."
But Pachter did agree with Steinberg that the PS3 "will ultimately come out on top". Victory, he predicted, will be the result of a console price cut to USD 199 and the success of Blu-ray.
Price point is key, said Pachter - observing that 80 per cent of all Xboxes sold in the US were purchased for USD 199 or less, with the figure approximately the same for PlayStation 2.
"Sony is around 6 million units behind Microsoft, and should be able to make up the gap - barely - by 2009 if they price the console correctly. They will likely be 9 million units behind the Wii by the end of this year, so it may take a bit longer to catch Nintendo, likely 2011 or so," Pachter concluded.