|PS4 in October and Xbox in November, predicts Baird Equity Research|
|Posted: 14.01.2013 13:27 by Simon Priest||Comments: 4|
Baird Equity Research having spent CES with a number of companies "involved in video game development and distribution", the group have come to some next-gen hardware conclusions.
The believe Sony will unleash the PS4 this October, with Microsoft a month behind with the new Xbox in November. They also feel the price point will float between $350 and $400.
They cite the "fragile state" of the console market as the reason why they firmly believe a reveal of the next generation consoles will come just before E3 this June.
"Given the fragile state of the console game market, we expect the E3 trade show in June will take on added significance, most likely providing the industry with the first public opportunity to examine next-generation hardware," said Baird Equity Research's Colin Sebastian in a note to investors.
"Our checks suggest that next-generation console hardware will be largely built from 'off the shelf' high-end PC components, along with hybrid physical/digital distribution models, enhanced voice controls and motion sensing (Kinect integration with every Xbox), and broad multi-media capabilities," he continued.
"Moreover, a PC-based architecture (Intel chips in the case of Xbox) should have a number of advantages over custom-developed silicon: for one, the learning curve for software developers will be shorter than completely new technology. Second, the cost of production and retail price points should be lower than prior console launches."
"Third, it will be easier to build online services around PC chip architecture, including flexible business models (free-to-play, subscriptions) and multi-media (over the top) content offerings. For Microsoft, this design will also allow for more integration with Windows 8 and Windows Mobile devices," Sebastian added.
He warned there could be "early production issues" with the next PlayStation. Sebastian was also doubtful over Nintendo's ability to expand the Wii U beyond the scope of the already loyal user base: "We remain concerned that Nintendo's innovative Wii-U console will lack broad appeal beyond the core Nintendo fan base."
"Following a somewhat lackluster launch and holiday selling season, Nintendo will need to bring to market major first-party releases (Zelda) and retain the support of key third-party developers to reduce market share losses. In a negative scenario, Nintendo will be forced to prematurely lower the Wii-U price, and over the course of this cycle, we expect consideration will be given to extending first party franchises to other platforms."
The arrival of the next platforms will have an impact on the sales performance of the current gen this year, warned Sebastian, although the likes of GTA V, Skylanders, Call of Duty, Battlefield and perhaps Bungie's Destiny will all help deliver some major hits. They also feel 2013 will be "remembered as the year that tablet games go mainstream."