IDC says Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the best selling current generation console for 2006 because it enjoyed a full year lead in the market. Microsoft is relishing in the PS3's launch slip-ups, where PS3 supply deficits diminished profits. The battle is heating up between the 360 and PS3, as the two gaming manufacturers target the same hardcore/enthusiast gamer to dominate the market.
Nintendo, on the other hand, is the only one of the three manufacturers working to grow its total accessible market for its hardware and software by broadening its audience beyond the traditional market. Nintendo has designed its latest hardware and software to be more inviting and fun, and less intimidating for non-gamers including those who may never self-identify as a gamer. Nintendo also enjoys support from the fan base it has captured with successful first party franchises. IDC believes hardware shipments of Nintendo's Wii will capture a little more than a third of the worldwide market by 2008, rising slightly above Sony's PS3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360.
"With the Wii, Nintendo is abdicating the specification war, leaving Sony and Microsoft to slug it out between themselves for the hardcore market," says Billy Pidgeon, program manager of IDC's Consumer Markets: Gaming program. "We believe concerted efforts to broaden the appeal of videogames beyond the traditional enthusiast/hardcore base will deepen the industry's penetration. This is good news for an industry that seemed to be receding last year due to over-saturation of the core base."
This IDC study, Worldwide Videogame Console Hardware and Software Forecast 2006-2011: Ready for a New Game (IDC #205659), provides an analysis of the worldwide videogame console and handheld hardware and software markets. In addition to a high-level overview of market trends and competitive differences, it also provides a forecast by major region (North America, Western Europe, Japan and the rest of the world [ROW]) of hardware and software shipments by platform and hardware and software revenue in aggregate.