It’s still a good couple of months before Sony’s and Microsoft’s latest next-generation video game consoles are unleashed onto the mass gaming public, but already the war between the PlayStation 4 (PS4) and the Xbox One is shaping up to be a titanic clash – and one that Sony is far better positioned to win, according to the latest forecast from industry consulting firm Futuresource.
With Sony’s PlayStation console already dominating the gaming scene on its home turf in Asia, the key battleground is set to take place in the United States (where the Xbox has traditionally been the most popular console), and also right here in the UK, another vital market for the Xbox.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, while the Xbox One is still set to sell well in the USA due to strong brand loyalty, Futuresource predicts its installed user base will see a significant decline, influenced in part by the console’s expensive price tag ($100 more than the PS4), plus some sloppy PR on the company’s part shortly after unveiling the home entertainment device.
This shift will see the PlayStation 4 grab a significantly larger market share than the Xbox One – according to Futuresource, Sony’s console will achieve a combined installed base of around 36 million units in the US, Western Europe and Japan during the first five years, compared to just 30 million units for the Xbox One. Even so, neither console is expected to sell as well as Sony and Microsoft might hope. Futuresource reckons that both games machines could struggle in the face of expected competition from rival tech firms like Google and Apple, and predicts installed user bases of something like 20% lower than the previous PlayStation and Xbox consoles achieved after five years.
If Futuresource’s predictions are correct, this would amount to a serious decline in the console industry – one that could potentially even be irreversible. Futuresource Consulting’s research analyst Sam Leech even went as far as to warn that these could well be the last of the traditional games consoles we’ll ever see.
“With the rise of non-traditional competition and market convergence, this could well be the last generation of games consoles as we know them today,” stated Leech.
Then again there could well be other factors at play that Futuresource hasn’t considered, such as the possibility of 4K content at some point in the future that could easily spark renewed interest in these consoles. The 4K capabilities of the PS4 and the Xbox One are well-documented, and when these consoles are finally released onto the market they could well be the easiest way for Ultra HD TV owners to get the content they need. Although it hasn’t been confirmed yet, Sony’s PS4 is likely to be capable streaming 4K content from its cloud streaming service, whilst Microsoft has already confirmed that the Xbox One will also be capable of supporting 4K.
With the cost of 4K TVs becoming cheaper by the day, thousands of gamers could well decide that the PS4 and the Xbox One are the best way to get the most out of their Ultra HD televisions.
Source: Futuresource Consulting