Console shipments to rebound this year

gamer-sexWith the imminent rollout of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, we didn’t exactly need serious research to conclude that console shipments would go up this year, but thanks to the IDC, we’ve got a few figures, too.

IDC predicts console shipments in 2013 will be “marginally higher” than the 2012 total of approximately 33 million units. This year will also mark the end of a four-year slide in console shipments.

The true impact of the PS4 and Xbox One, or Xbone, will be felt next year. Nintendo’s new Wii U hasn’t done very well this year, due to a lack of compelling games, but the competition is expected to do just fine.

The research also suggests Sony will take the lead, as its console is somewhat cheaper and users don’t seem too thrilled by some of Microsoft’s policies. IDC also expects game revenue derived through connected console channels to exceed PC prepaid revenue this year.

“The number of online console gamers around the globe is on pace to exceed 165 million by 2017,” said 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 introduction of new consoles just in time for the holiday season will obviously have a knock on effect on sales of console related accessories and peripherals, not to mention retail games.

However, it is worth noting that higher demand for consoles is not expected to have much of an impact on the PC gaming market. Recent research indicates that PC gaming is doing just fine and spending is growing by a CAGR of 3 percent. Console and PC gaming are no longer vying for the same consumer base and they are developing in parallel, without much in the way of cannibalisation.