Analyst: Next Generation Consoles Will Not Outsell the Previous Generation

By James Dohnert , Updated May 21, 2013 05:38 PM EDT

International Data Corp. (IDC) Research Manager Lewis Ward reports that next generation consoles will not beat out the sales gains of the previous generations gaming systems.

Ward tells Reuters that success of the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii will fail to be repeated because of growth in the tablet and social media gaming sector. According to Ward, the current generation of consoles will mark the historical highpoint for the industry.  

"The next wave crest isn't as high as the previous one," says Ward.

"I do think that consoles as a product category have peaked and the next gen devices won't match those totals."

IDC reports that 250 million Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii consoles have been sold during their lifespan. Console sales have been on the decline over the past four years. The decline has been attributed to the current generation of consoles reaching the end of their lifespan and growth in other gaming sectors.

One next generation console that has already been revealed is Nintendo's Wii U. The latest Nintendo console launched in November but has failed to live up to sales expectations. Since launch the device has sold about 3.45 million units. Sold units failed to meet Nintendo's expectations which forecast figures closer to 5.5 million. The console's struggles caused Target to cut prices on the console. Target began selling the Wii U at $239.99. The cut was a drop of $60 on the original retail price.

Poor sales have led game publisher EA to stop development on any titles for the Wii U. EA reported that games such as Madden, Star Wars, and Battlefield would not be given the Nintendo treatment earlier this month.

Ward reports that EA's decision to drop out of the Wii U development cycle is a troubling sign for console makers. He tells the BBC that in order for the next generation of consoles to succeed game makers will need to focus on bringing a strong game porfolio to consoles.

Microsoft seems to understand Ward's sentiment. The company recently announced that the Xbox One will be launched with titles from developers such as Activision and EA. Titles will include games from the FIFA and Call of Duty franchises.

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