While little fanfare may have gone into talk of consoles about a year ago, with the introduction of the PS4 and Xbox One all that has changed. Now, every month’s sales numbers have fueled speculation over who’s truly winning the console war, and prompting thinkpieces about the failures and successes of Microsoft and Sony. In other words, with a new race only having just begun, things have gone back to normal.
However, while the immediate future is the most pressing concern for the respective console manufacturers, industry analysts are even more intrigued by how things might inevitably shake out a few years down the road. What will things look like once the initial onslaught (of games and consoles) has worn off?
As it turns out, the analysis firm International Data Corporation (IDC) has provided their thoughts on what console sales will look like in the near future — the year 2016 to be exact. They believe that some big changes will occur over the next two years, and a significant business move will help one company make up some much needed ground.
It should come as no surprise to learn that IDC expects the PS4 will have the console market share with 51 million units sold worldwide. Sony’s console has been selling extremely well out of the gate, moving more than 7 million units (globally) during its first 6 months of release.
But, what’s more interesting is that IDC expects Microsoft will retake the North American market share after unbundling the Kinect from the Xbox One. It’s true that Microsoft has lost significant ground when it comes to current-gen sales, with many citing the Xbox One’s price point as a major deterrent to consumers, but IDC believes that Microsoft will eventually give in to gamer requests and remove the Kinect from some or all Xbox One bundles, and that will help turn the tide in their favor.
“The presumed unbundling of Kinect and Xbox One, which should facilitate rough price parity between it and the PS4, should lead to a spike in Xbox One sales; assuming the console and sensor are unbundled in 2015, IDC expects Xbox One to recover and emerge with the largest installed base of any console in North America by the end of 2016.”
While many gamers have hoped that Microsoft would uncouple the Kinect and Xbox One it’s unclear if that’s the answer to Microsoft’s problems. In fact, with about 5 million units shippedd thus far, and a projected total of 9 million by year’s end, what’s to say Microsoft has a problem at all?
Finally, IDC also predicts that physical software sales will continue their downward trend as digital sales slowly start to dominate the market. Disc-based sales to retailers and retail revenue are both expected to dip with this eighth generation, although digital sales should help the industry thrive.
In total, IDC’s projections will lead to some interesting talking points heading into E3 2014. While both Sony and Microsoft are expected to unveil some big triple-A releases for their new consoles, many are wondering whether either company will announce new SKUs or price points as well. If Microsoft buys in to the IDC’s prediction that a non-bundled Xbox One will help boost sales, why not get started on that now?
Do you agree with IDC’s projections? Will the Xbox One be able to bounce back and overtake the PS4 (in North America) if Microsoft unbundles the Kinect?
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