Wii might take 30% of U.S. homes

No no no, not 30% of all gamers, 30% of all HOMES, of which there are substantially more than the niche category of “gamer.”

Merrill Lynch has predicted that 30% of U.S households will own a Wii by 2011. The analyst says the figure in Japan could be as high as 33%. The prediction comes in the aftermath of extraordinary results for Nintendo’s console, outselling all competitors in North America and Japan, and riding high in Europe prior to PS3’s introduction there. Yoshiyuki Kinoshita, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, made the prediction following news that Wii had captured a 68% share of the Japanese next-gen market last month, selling over 400,000 units against 150,000 units for PS3. In the U.S, Wii outsold PS3 by 436K to 244K, although, of course, PS3 is still out-billing Wii on a dollar basis.

And the clincher:

Analysts are increasingly dismissive of the idea that Wii is a short-term gimmick whose appeal is fading. Jay Defibaugh, analyst at Credit Suisse said, “There has been a concern that the Wii was gimmicky but each passing month assuages that.”

That’s exactly the kind of line you want to hear if you’re pulling for Nintendo this generation.