With the rise of digital, mobile, cloud gaming and smart TVs, there's been plenty of talk about the "death of consoles" of late, but if you ask International Data Corporation (IDC), it's all hogwash. The research firm today published a new forecast on the video game console market, Worldwide Video Game and Entertainment Console Hardware and Packaged Software 2012-2016 Forecast, which essentially states that consoles have plenty of life in them.
"The console ecosystem is in a state of flux since these platforms need to support an ever-growing array of non-gaming features and services at the same time that game distribution and monetization is moving in a digital direction," said Lewis Ward, research manager of IDC's Gaming service. "At the same time, it doesn't appear that alternative platforms - set-top boxes from cable companies, Web-connected smart TVs, and so on - are positioned to materially disrupt the trajectory of the 'big 3' console OEMs in 2013 or 2014. Discs will remain the console game revenue mainstay for years to come."
"2011 and 2012 were tough for many console game disc developers and publishers," added Ward. "With the advent of eighth-generation consoles, starting with the Wii U, historical norms strongly imply that game disc revenue will stop bleeding in 2013 and rise substantively in 2014."
That said, IDC doesn't deny that the digital revolution is having an effect. The firm predicts that the volume of packaged game discs shipped will decline an average of roughly 3 percent per year through 2016, as console spending shifts into digital channels.
The report also highlights that just this past December, Sony's PS3 managed to surpass the number of Xbox 360s shipped worldwide (about 77 million vs. 76 million), despite the PS3 launching a year later. While many hardcore gamers are now waiting for the next-generation systens from Sony and Microsoft, IDC noted that Nintendo will still "find an audience" with Wii U, reaching global bundle shipments of 50 million by year-end 2016.
IDC's 67-page report is being sold for $4,500.