Console sales slide set to end in 2013
Market intelligence specialist IDC has released a game and entertainment console forecast which concludes that the number of consoles shipped this year will be higher than in 2012. The total for 2013 is predicted to be around 33 million bundles, this ends a four year slide which began in 2009.
The forecast also suggests that Sony PlayStation 4 bundle sales will edge out Microsoft Xbox One sales during this year's holiday season. This is due to a variety of factors, most notably the PS4's lower price point.
In addition IDC is predicting that prepaid full-game, micro-game, and add-on download revenue from connected console channels (Xbox LIVE, PlayStation Store and eShop) will exceed that of worldwide PC-based prepaid full-game, micro-game, and add-on download revenue (ie digital PC games distributed through Steam, Origin, and Amazon.com) for the first time this year. Connected console subscription revenue (Xbox LIVE Gold and PlayStation Plus) is also rising in 2013 while subscription-based PC game revenue (like World of Warcraft) is in decline.
"The number of online console gamers around the globe is on pace to exceed 165 million by 2017," says Lewis Ward, Research Manager, Gaming at IDC. "As a result, the opportunity to sell these gamers digital assets through Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4 online storefronts will grow substantially in the next several years." Ward adds that the Chinese government's recent decision to lift the ban on consoles should lead to millions of additional hardware bundle sales for Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony within three years.
IDC also thinks that game revenue from smart TVs and set-top boxes is also set to rise quickly but will still be less than 10 percent of TV-centered game spending by 2017.
"The differences between traditional game consoles, PCs connected to HDTV's, and a variety of set-top-boxes and smart TVs that can play games will eventually be semantic," explains Ward. "And it appears unlikely that Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony will be driven out of the living room from a gaming perspective by 2017 as result of non-console competition..."
The full report is available for a fee on the IDC website.