An issue with the N64 argument -
Nintendo lost a decent bit of marketshare before the N64 came out. The SNES did not have this "dizzying" amount of succuess that you all talk about. It sold 49m units worldwide. Very impressive for the time, but the NES sold somewhere near 65m or more.It had a 15m unit reduction, and the N64 merely continued that trend.
Most people are clamoring to revise their PS3 numbers. Where did you expect it to be at? 100-120m units for a system that's twice the price? Doubtful. Now do you expect it to be at sub-50m units for a system that'll atleast have a market in all 3 countries?
One issue I find important to Sony: Futureproofing. I hate the idea of it, as it's made the PS3 into an over-bloated system with specs that aren't needed. However, Sony has said all along that the PS3 is designed to go into the next decade. What happens if the PS3 stays on market till AFTER the next-gen systems are out and its still even 2012 and there's no PS4? Sure, it'll do only mildly against competition, but with what the PS2 has proved, it's atleast possible if the company actually supports the product. The Xbox could of done somewhere near 27.5m units worldwide had MS not of killed support so quickly. Heck, it might of even got near 30m units. So because of this, Sony might pull a coup with having the system futureproofed. Not that I agree with it, as the archatecture on the PS3 is far too difficult for devs to work on, and will make them lose alot of stuff, but 4-5 years from now, maybe the PS3 will return as a console of choice to make games that are high budget? By then the PS3 will be cheap, and would garner decent sales then.
Also, the PS3 has (thus far) about a 30% marketshare in Japan. If it held at this (although it should improve somewhere to 35 to even 40% at most), it'd mean somewhere near 10m or 12.5m units sold. Most analyists predict around a 30-35% marketshare in the US, so another 25m units there, then whatever Europe + other territories where Sony has typically done well in. Of course, most predictions are merely for marketshare vs. other gen compeditors, but as we've seen with the PS2, it's still garnering about 15-25% of worldwide next-gen shares if not more since the launch of the Wii and PS3.
Im not a PS3 lover or fanboy, I hate them. However, I do see the merit in what they are trying to do.
This is how I believe Sony sees it -
2006 - 1.5m units sold (horrible, everyone cries the world falls down)
2007 - 8.0m units sold (still pretty bad, world is falling down for Sony, Sony doomed total)
2008 - 11.0m units sold (price drops happen, Sony gets FFXIII out there, people start buying the PS3 as it's a little cheaper and worldwide)
2009 - 14.0m units sold (PS3 hits $350-$400 for higher end model, good Sony software. Starts improving marketshare vs. Wii and 360)
2010 - 15.0m units sold (PS3 hits its "stride" still under what the 360 and Wii has done, but reaches $250-$300 with people still buying it. Next-gen systems announced, Nintendo out with Wii 2 shortly.
2011 - 11.0m units sold (Next-Wii launches. Sony still doesn't have a solution to it, delays announcing next-gen succuessor. Bad sales maybe? says press)
2012 - 7.5m units sold (PS4 announced, or agreement with MS on a join project)
2013 - 5.0m units sold (PS4 launches, PS3 continues to sell well at $150 or so with decent bit of titles)
2014+ 5.0m units sold - Sony finally calls 8 year PS3 dead.
Total sales: 78m units sold. Good vs. Wii/360? Yes. But it crawls to #1 after Wii + Wii 2 have already sold 90m units.
The wii won't hit 90 or even get close, It will stall around 60 if the novelty doesn't wear off....30 if it does...