Until last November, it had been more than four years since American game players had seen a new console. The new Xbox 360 continues to fly off store shelves even after the holidays. And now the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution are on the way. So it looks like 2006 could be the transition to the next generation.
Here's a primer on what to expect from the game industry in 2006:
So when can I get my hands on this new PlayStation 3?
While Sony gives the spring of 2006 as its official launch date, most analysts expect the updated console will hit store shelves in late spring or early summer in Japan, but not until November in the U.S. Sony historically likes staggered launches for game consoles, and its manufacturers are still ramping up their ability to design the advanced new chipset. When it does come out next fall, the PS3 will be just as hard to buy as the Xbox 360 was last Christmas. Citigroup's Elizabeth Osur has predicted that Sony will be able to sell roughly 900,000 PlayStation 3 units in the U.S. in 2006. Pacific Crest Securities analyst Evan Wilson says he expects about a million consoles to be available for the U.S. launch. That means a supply situation almost as tight as the one shoppers faced with the 360.
What about the Nintendo Revolution?
Nintendo hasn't announced a launch date yet, but last week, President Satoru Iwata told the Japanese press that Nintendo aimed to release its new system in the U.S. before Thanksgiving.
How are these consoles expected to sell once they're introduced?
A report released by Citigroup on Jan. 16 predicts that Xbox 360 will hold its lead and edge out the PlayStation 3 in the U.S. at the peak of the next cycle, selling an estimated 8 million units in 2008 compared with 7.1 million PlayStation 3s in that year (for a grand total of 19.8 million since launch vs. 11 million, respectively). Citigroup expects Nintendo to have sold 3.9 million Revolution systems by 2008. " [more]