Media analytic firm Screen Digest has predicted a surge in the online games market for 2010, adding that motion control is a much-needed unique feature for the home consoles as they battle against an increasing number of other online-enabled gaming devices and platforms.
Pointing to 2009 as a noteworthy year for the rise of games markets beyond the traditional console, thanks to the increase in popularity of social network games and app store sales for phones, the company said that it expects the online games markets to be worth 24 per cent of a combined physical and online market in the US in 2010 - up from 18 per cent last year.
It added that the new phase of technological development from console manufacturers, specifically innovations such as Natal and Sony's motion control, would be essential for maintaining market dominance.
Not only would it allow Sony and Microsoft to compete directly with Nintendo's market leading Wii, it would offer something unique that other emerging devices don't have, said the report.
"Physical retail still dominates in market share terms, but with heavy growth in games content consumption on alternative devices and platforms, competition for gamers' spend is growing steadily," said Screen Digest's head of games, Piers Harding-Rolls.
"Motion control games offer a unique respite for console platforms. They are as yet unique and can't be replicated by alternative platforms or on-demand solutions and so they represent an important development for both Sony and Microsoft."
The report added that games consoles would continue to be the leading connected device in living rooms in 2010, after building up a significant lead on competition already.
By the end of 2010, 20.2 million Xbox 360s would be connected to the internet, it predicted - the definition of connected being that they would access the internet at least once in the year.
By the same measure, 20.1 million PlayStation 3s and 25.8 million Wiis would be used online.
"We are only at the beginning of the digital living room as TV sets, Blu-ray players and other set top boxes are increasingly getting connected to the internet and providing services that people are actually going to use," said Dan Cryan, Screen Digest's head of broadband.
"For the moment games consoles have a significant lead in getting internet content to the TV as their processing power and significant local storage makes them easy to upgrade and add new services."