Analyst: PS3 to win next-gen war

The Yankee Group predicts 30 million PS3s, 27 million Xbox 360s, and 11 million Wiis sold in North America by 2011.

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If you're a game-industry analyst looking to get some free publicity, the easiest way seems to be to issue a provocative press release predicting the victor of the next-gen console war. Case in point: The Yankee Group, a Boston-based firm that today made a bold forecast about which of the big three console makers will come out on top.

Who's the lucky company? Despite widespread unhappiness with the PlayStation 3's high price, the Yankee Group predicts that Sony will come out on top. "Microsoft is off to a fast start, launching the Xbox 360 nearly 12 months before the PlayStation 3," the company said in a statement. "However, by the time third-generation consoles reach market maturity in 2011, the PlayStation 3 will once again be the market leader."

How badly does the firm think Sony will beat its competitors? The Yankee Group is forecasting that Sony will sell 30 million PS3s over the next five years in North America, attaining a 44 percent market share. It sees Microsoft coming in second with 27 million units, or a 40 percent market share, which it will attain by "put[ting] significant price pressure on Sony during the PS3's lifecycle." As for Nintendo, the company predicts the Wii will keep the same roughly 16 percent market share it currently holds by selling 11 million Wiis over five years.

"With a growing installed base of connected consoles, content owners are beginning to recognize the potential video game consoles offer as a distribution channel," said Michael Goodman, Yankee's senior analyst for media and entertainment strategies. "Additionally, these platforms will serve as a strong medium for advertising, validating the growing market for in-game and around game advertising."

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