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Online Gaming Subscribers to Increase, While Console Sales Fall

by Rainier on April 9, 2009 @ 9:26 a.m. PDT

A new report predicts that while console shipments decline during the global recession, growth in online gaming subscriptions is expected to be strong due to a sizable console installed base and growing consumer awareness of online gaming.

While video game console shipments decline during the global recession, growth in online gaming subscriptions is expected to be strong due to a sizable console installed base and growing consumer awareness of online gaming, reports In-Stat (http://www.in-stat.com). Console and handheld subscriber growth combined will grow a projected 20.4% between 2005 and 2013.

“Unit sales of game consoles will decline moving into 2010, as a result of both the weak economy and a peak in each vendor’s video game console lifecycle,” says Stephanie Ethier, In-Stat analyst. “The key vendors, including Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, are staking out their online strategy to generate incremental revenue and promote brand loyalty.”

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

  • Each of the three key vendors is positioned to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual online gaming revenue from online service subscriptions, download revenue and/or online advertising.
  • Microsoft’s Xbox Live service will clearly lead, with projected revenue of over $1 billion in revenue annually by 2013.
  • Worldwide broadband subscriptions will reach 562 million in 2009. The combination of broadband, installed home networks, and pervasive Wi-Fi in gaming devices is fueling online gaming subscriber growth.
  • In 2008, total video game console unit shipments reached 88 million worldwide, up 7% from worldwide unit shipments in 2007.

The research, “Despite Slowing Console Sales, Online Gaming Subscriber Growth Continuing Worldwide,” covers the worldwide market for online gaming. It does not forecast PC online gaming or casual gaming. It includes:

  • Forecasts for online game subscribers annually through 2013.
  • Revenue and subscriber forecasts for each console include an annual console installed base, the number of subscribers (free or paid), subscription revenue, paid download revenue, and online ad revenue.
  • Analyses of the online console strategies of Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony, as well as the online handheld strategies of Nintendo and Sony.

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