NEW YORK —
“It’s really these consoles against everything else,” says Scott Stein, senior editor for the tech blog CNET.
While game console sales have been falling in the U.S., the worldwide video game market is growing, helped by mobile and online games and downloadable console games. Those sales are more than making up for a declining demand for game discs. Gartner Inc. expects the total video game market to hit $93.3 billion this year, up from $78.9 billion in 2012. The research firm sees the market rising to $111 billion by 2015.
Both new gaming systems are expected to be in brisk demand around the holidays. Sony expects to sell 5 million units of the PlayStation 4 by the end of its fiscal year in March. The PlayStation 3, in comparison, sold 3.5 million units in that time period seven years ago. Microsoft declined to offer a sales outlook for the Xbox One through the holidays, but demand should be comparable, says Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter. He expects 3 million Xbox Ones to be sold through December and 4.5 million through March.
Why does the PlayStation get a slight edge? Price could be one reason. The Xbox One, which includes an updated Kinect motion sensor, will cost $500, which is $100 more than the PlayStation 4. In contrast, the PlayStation 3 went on sale at $500 or $600 depending on the model in November 2006 while the Xbox 360 cost $400. Most new game software costs $60.
Dan Perkins, a gamer who’s on the fence about which console to buy, says the “price is certainly a factor” nudging him toward a PS4 purchase — even though he was previously an Xbox man.
“I bought the Xbox 360 primarily because I preferred the titles it offered to the PS3. A major contributor to this decision was the ‘Mass Effect’ trilogy, which was initially unavailable on the PS3 at the time of my purchase,” says Perkins, 40, a librarian from Syracuse, N.Y. “Neither platform has the edge on games in my opinion,” he says. “In the end though, a big factor will be which system my friends adopt.”