The jury is divided on how the fortunes of both PS3 and Xbox 360 will pan out over the course of the next 12 to 24 months.
Some believe that Kinect will prove the catalyst for Xbox 360 to reduce PS3’s charge and extend Microsoft’s sales lead over its predecessor. Others, though, think Sony’s momentum and popularity in Japan will see PS3 overtake 360 some time in 2011.
“We do not believe Microsoft has squandered a first to market advantage – particularly when you consider how most game pundits back in the day expected Sony to dominate the next generation,” Janco Partners' Mike Hickey told Industry Gamers.
“Perhaps more important is where we go from here. With no meaningful console introduction in the medium term, we believe Microsoft's Kinect system is the most identifiable organic installed base accelerator which will likely extend their global lead over Sony's PS3 console.”
DFC Intelligence’s David Cole is less optimistic for Microsoft’s machine, however, citing a lack of diversity in the genres that support the system.
“We have been forecasting for the past three years that the PS3 would catch up to the 360 by 2011,” he stated. “I think the big issue is that the 360 has been primarily the platform for FPS games and has lacked the diversity to appeal to a broader international market – mainly Japan and Europe where Sony is very strong.
“I think in terms of doing things differently they should probably have focused more on Europe and just given up on Japan. They would have had a better chance in Europe.
“Going forward I don't know if there is much they can do. They will try with the Kinect but I don't see that working. I think the PS3 will soon pass the 360 for good.”
And EEDAR’s Jesse Divnich pointed out that when you consider the position from which Microsoft entered the console market, it has done tremendously well.
“The achievements of the Xbox 360 are incredible,” he noted. “It went from fighting for a distant second place last generation to now being considered one of the healthiest platforms to develop for. The PlayStation 2 outsold the Xbox nearly 7 to 1 in Europe and nearly 40 to 1 in Japan. In 2010, PlayStation 3 is outselling the Xbox 360 a tad over 1 to 1 in Europe and only about 10 to 1 in Japan.
“For a company that entered the video game space late, going up against two competitors with decades of loyal gamers, Microsoft should be proud of their accomplishments. Any faults to point out would simply be nitpicking.”