ABI: Streaming No Panacea for New Gaming Consoles15 Jul, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Pending consoles from Xbox and PlayStation not expected to rival editions in unit sales, according to research firm
Don’t expect the retail bow of new video game consoles from Xbox and PlayStation to match unit sales of previous editions — regardless of their streaming functions, according to a new report.
ABI Research July 15 said the push to market online video access in the new consoles is undermined by the availability of cheaper streaming devices from Roku, Netgear, WD, Apple and Seagate, among others.
The company said it expects combined unit sales of Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U to reach 133 million units within the first five years of launch — down 5% from unit sales of 140 million for previous console editions.
The downsized projection comes despite the fact that the Xbox One for the first time will have a Blu-ray Disc drive capable of playing both movies and HD games.
“Without solid titles and first-party franchises, platforms will have a difficult time finding traction. Streaming media is not enough when low-cost STBs are readily available,” Sam Rosen, practice director with ABI, said in a statement. “While we don’t anticipate a drop-off in game console households, barring significant changes to less developed console markets in Asia and Latin America there isn’t a great deal of growth opportunity beyond the current installed base.”
ABI said a wild card in gaming is the advent of low-cost ($99) set-top box/console featuring cloud-based games as well as China lifting a ban on console imports.
“With many of the casual gaming segment embracing mobile devices for gaming, without a shift in strategy and pricing the Wii U will likely fail to match the success of the Wii, which will impact future console shipments,” said senior analyst Michael Inouye.