The number of game console bundles shipped worldwide in 2013 will be slightly higher than the 2012 total of approximately 33 million bundles, according to a new report from the International Data Corporation.
Console sales have been sliding since 2009 but the research company claims this is set to end this year, with new systems being the main reason for the increase. Nintendo's Wii U system is brand new and Sony and Microsoft will also be entering the next generation of gaming later in the year, which it says will help shipments surpass 33 million.
Interestingly, IDC predicts that worldwide prepaid full-game, micro-game and add-on download revenue obtained through connected console channels such as the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Store and Xbox Live, will exceed that of PC-based channels such as Steam.
Lewis Ward, research manager of gaming at the IDC, said:
The number of online console gamers around the globe is on pace to exceed 165 million by 2017. As a result, the opportunity to sell these gamers digital assets through Wii U, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 online storefronts will grow substantially in the next several years.
He went on to say the recent decision made by the Chinese government to lift the ban on consoles in the region should lead to millions of additional hardware bundle sales for the big console manufacturers within the next three years.
IDC also expects revenue generated on smart TV, micro-console and gaming-capable set-top box platforms is rising quickly but it will only represent less than ten per cent of all TV-centric, digital game-related spending in 2017. Ward added:
It appears unlikely that Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony will be driven out of the living room from a gaming perspective by 2017 as result of non-console competition from the likes of Valve/Steam, OUYA, cable/telecom companies, or related hardware and web service providers.
It seems consoles are set for a healthy year in 2013. What do you think the future holds for them? Let us know in the comment section below.