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During his usual annual forecast for the games industry, Hirokazu Hamamura, president of Japanese publisher Enterbrain, which publishes Famitsu magazine, has cast doubts on the current popularity of Wii.

In his speech, he said that market research figures had found that 67% of Wii owners in Japan had not been using their Nintendo console recently. The reason for the Wii not being used is said to be a lack of game releases to excite the market, with Wii Sports still being the front runner. Hamamura believes this will change with time, as highly anticipated titles such as WiiFit this year and the recently announced Wii-exclusive Monster Hunter 3 should stimulate the market.

He doesn’t see any problems with the Nintendo DS, and highlighted the forthcoming Dragon Quest IX as being a potential record-setter, surpassing 5 million sales, and the DS is expected to ship 30 million units by 2009.

With the recent release of the 40 GB PS3, Hamamura can see the console becoming more accessible to gamers due to the reduced price, but highlighted Sony’s reliance on Gran Turismo 5 due to the uncertainty of Final Fantasy XIII and Metal Gear Solid 4 remaining exclusives on PlayStation hardware.

I agree the Wii is looking a bit boring at the moment, as we desperately wait for the new titles to appear. My wish list is Umbrella Chronicles, Mario Galaxy, and Metroid Prime Corruption 3 (see our review), and it is just a shame there has been a big gap before they have appeared on the radar. Further into the future, Mario Kart is also a very important and popular title.

Sony’s introduction of the 40 GB PS3 has met with mixed responses in the industry, but for the consumer in general, it is the PS3 at a lower price point, and that is good news. Much like Wii, though, more triple-A games are required to keep the user base growing and keep the Xbox 360 in Sony’s sights.

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