LOS ANGELES--The next generation of consoles from Microsoft and Sony could be on store shelves as early as next year, Sterne Agee industry analyst Arvind Bhatia predicts. In a note sent to investors today, the industry watcher said it's more than likely new consoles will be out by the end of 2013.
"Based on various conversations we had at the conference, we believe it is all but a given that either Microsoft or Sony or both will launch their new consoles next year," he said.
In a separate note, Robert W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian echoed Bhatia's thoughts, saying he expects new consoles from Microsoft and Sony to launch late next year. As for specifics, Sebastian said these new platforms are likely to boast improvements to processing power, speed, and graphics over current-generation technology.
Additionally, he said the "most significant innovations" for next-generation consoles may be the integration of new online features and "flexible revenue models" like free-to-play and microtransactions.
Regarding the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Bhatia said this year's annual event has been "underwhelming" thus far, citing no major announcements. Bhatia said he was hopeful for price cuts on hardware, a Wii U console price announcement, and "exciting" Wii U software, but none of those things happened.
For more on E3 2012, check out GameSpot's ongoing coverage.