In a new interview with website Wired, Microsoft Game Studios head Shane Kim has stated that the title of market leader for the current generation of consoles can only be claimed once console sales begin to reach 100 million
Kim stated: "I think it's way too early to declare a winner. Some guys were trying to declare Nintendo the winner of this generation last night ... I think it's way too early."
Asked when he felt the winner could be announced, Kim answered: "When somebody's well on their way to reaching 100 million units."
That milestone marks a significant change from Microsoft's oft-stated previous position that 10 million is a primary signal of success, given that the first system to reach 10 million sales in prior generations has always gone on to be considered the "winner" of that generation.
Recently, Microsoft trumpeted its first-to-10-million status with Xbox 360, though Nintendo was only a few hundred thousand units behind with a year less on the market.
Commenting further on Nintendo's chances of becoming the clear market leader over the whole generation Kim added: "Will they get to expand beyond 35, 40 million to 100 million? Will anybody? I mean, that's going to be an interesting thing to see: Will there be a clear-cut winner like there has been in the last two generations?"
In an earlier reported interview, Kim also predicted that the Xbox 360 would enjoy a lifespan of at least another seven years
, suggesting that both Microsoft and Sony (who have made frequent references to a ten year lifespan for the PlayStation 3
) expect the current generation of consoles to continue for longer than has traditionally been the case.