Although most analysts have said that the PlayStation 3
would maintain Sony's lead in the console market in the coming years, an
analyst for Merrill Lynch is bucking the trend and is giving a nod to the
Xbox 360. Sony has held the lead in the console wars with the original
PlayStation and PlayStation 2, so what would prevent the PlayStation 3 from carrying
the crown this go around?
There is no doubt that the PlayStation 3 will face
formidable competition from its cheaper Xbox 360 and Wii rivals, but Merrill
Lynch's Yoshiyuki Kinoshita says that it goes much further than a low price
tag. "The winner in the next-generation console battle is likely to be the
Xbox 360, which is the leader in North America, the world's biggest
market," said Kinoshita.
Kinoshita points to early production problems
with the PS3 and Microsoft's one-year head start as insurmountable barriers for
global dominance by Sony this time around. On the other hand, production
problems can be worked out and one shouldn't dismiss Sony's larger fan base.
Despite this, Kinoshita predicts that Microsoft will retain a 50% share of the
North American market by March of 2011 with Sony and Nintendo commanding 27%
and 23% respectively.
In the overall global market, the race will be much tighter
with Kinoshita still giving the edge to Microsoft overall. "We forecast
respective market shares at end-FY3/11 (March 2011) of Xbox 360 [at] 39
percent, PS3 [at] 34 percent and Wii [at] 27 percent, thus overturning Sony's
domination of the market with its PS2-based share of 69 percent, and doubling
Microsoft and Nintendo's respective market shares."
This is a race that everyone will be watching closely. The trash talking and prodding on behalf of
both Sony/Microsoft execs and respective fans have been fierce over the past
year, but it will still be years before we see which console truly comes out on