A new connected game and entertainment console forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC) concludes that the number of game console bundles shipped worldwide in 2013 will be marginally higher than the 2012 total of approximately 33-million bundles, ending a four-year slide that began in 2009.
The forecast also suggests that Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) bundle sales will edge out Microsoft Xbox One sales this holiday season due to a variety of factors, most notably the PS4’s lower price point.
IDC predicts that prepaid full-game, micro-game, and add-on download revenue derived through 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 (i.e., 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 (such as 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 the likes of Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony within three years.
The forecast also considers the outlook for gaming-capable smart TV, micro-console, and set-top box (STB) gaming.
IDC anticipates that video game software revenue generated on smart TV, micro-console, and gaming-capable set-top box (STB) platforms from cable/telecom companies – and including cloud-streaming options from some of these providers – is rising quickly but will still represent less than 10% of all TV-centric, digital game-related spending in 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 from the likes of Valve/Steam, OUYA, cable/telecom companies, or related hardware and Web service providers.”