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By 16 July 2013 | Categories: news

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The release of Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation gaming consoles - the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One - is scheduled for the 2013 holiday shopping season, and is set to make more than a few gamers very happy. But market research company ABI Research expects cumulative global shipments of these new consoles to initially fall short of current-generation shipments.  

According to the data analytics firm’s latest research, eighth generation consoles (including Nintendo’s Wii U) is forecasted to surpass the 133 million units shipped mark over the course of the first 5 years of these devices’ availability on the market.

This would not be enough to match the almost 140 million shipment benchmark set by the seventh generation gaming consoles (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii) during the same length of time.  

New players and mobile devices poach casual gamers

One of the main factors impacting the future sale of next-gen consoles is that a number of new companies that have opened up shop in the console market, the likes of Ouya. These firms compete with established gaming platforms via the affordability of their products and pick-up-and-play mobile-like gaming experiences they provide and are aimed at non-core gamers.

In addition, smartphones and tablets also employ the same attributes that appeal to casual gamers, who then do not feel the need to purchase a dedicated gaming device.  

Michael Inouye, ABI Research senior analyst, commented: “With many of the casual gaming segment embracing mobile devices for gaming, without a shift in strategy and pricing the Wii U will likely fail to match the success of the Wii which will impact future console shipments. If China decides to lift its ban on consoles, however, in the short term this could boost future shipments of 7th generation game consoles while minimally altering the 8th generation.”

Challenges for the new gaming market entrants

According to the data analytics company, new Android-based consoles are finding a niche with gamers, but these devices lack differentiated gaming libraries from mobile devices.

The market research firm’s practice director Sam Rosen stated: “The future prospects of gaming platforms depends in equal measure on compelling games and pricing falling within household reach for discretionary/gift spending.”

“Without solid titles and first party franchises platforms will have a difficult time finding traction - streaming media is not enough when low-cost smart STBs [set-top box sets] are readily available. While we don’t anticipate a drop-off in game console households, barring significant changes to less developed console markets in Asia and Latin America there isn’t a great deal of growth opportunity beyond the current installed base,” Rosen concluded.

In other market research related news, data analytics company Strategy Analytics recently revealed that the global smartphone applications processor market grew by nearly 50% year-on-year to reach $3.6 billion in Q1 2013.

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