Consumer spending on games consoles and software will begin to bounce back next year - after a slide of a few percentage points between 2010 and 2011 - thanks, in part, to the Wii U.
So says market watcher IDC, which reckons that developed markets, seemingly sated appetite for gaming, will soon be hungry for next-gen consoles, the first of which, Nintendo's Wii U, goes on sale in 2012.
Crucially, though, it's developing markets that will become the new major battleground for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Here, growth rates will be almost double what they are in the established console markets, IDC reckons.
The upshot: global console hardware and disc software sale revenue will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 3.6 per cent from 2010 to 2015, reaching $39.7bn in 2015.
"Prognostications that consoles have peaked as a product category are premature," said Lewis Ward, a gaming research manager at IDC. "I expect that the launch of the Wii U, a revamped interactive entertainment console from Microsoft in the 2014 timeframe, and the arrival of Sony's 'PS4' circa 2015 – along with more than a few exclusive, innovative games – will help drive a new wave of console-centric spending in the next several years."
IDC expects there to be about 257m active consoles worldwide by 2015, or 12.7 per cent of anticipated households that year, down about a percentage point when compared to 2011's numbers.
And one final fact for the fanboys: the PS3 will have the largest active installed base of any game console worldwide by 2015, IDC said, adding that the PS2's "long tail" may ultimately repeat. ®