Futuresource Consulting has predicted that PS4 will enjoy a decent sales advantage over Xbox One over the next five years.
It reckons that PS4 will have sold 36m units by 2018 with Xbox One having shifted just 30m units – although it expects both machines to fall short of their predecessors.
"We expect the Xbox One to sell well in the USA due to existing customer loyalty, repositioning as an integrated multimedia home hub will open up further market opportunities, though it is launching into a crowded marketplace, so gaining a strong foothold in this category will be challenging,” the report states.
"The PS4 is likely to maintain its strong lead in its core territories of Japan and continental Europe. Due to its lower price point and positive PR within the gaming community, the PS4 will also reduce Xbox's lead in the key Microsoft territories of the USA and UK when compared with previous generations.
"Due to the increased availability of high-quality alternative gaming platforms such as mobile devices, as well as expected propositions from tech powerhouses Apple and Google, we expect the installed bases of the Xbox One and PS4 to be 20 per cent lower than those of the previous generation after five years on the market.
With increased market convergence and non-traditional competition, we could be looking at the last generation of gaming consoles as we know it."
The same report also predicts that, despite the shift to digital, the packaged games market will grow by $430m in 2014 to reach a global value of 18.7bn – that's despite an anticipated 12 per cent drop in physical PC and handheld game sales.
"The launch of next gen consoles will revitalise the market for package console games in 2014, bucking the downward trend that we've seen in recent years," it added.
"This despite the fact that both Xbox One and PS4 are shifting further towards digital delivery, with games available for play almost immediately, while the download completes in the background.”