Report: PS4 will top Xbox One globally, selling 51 million units by 2016

International Data Corporation report also says if Microsoft unbundles Kinect, then the Xbox One will outsell the PS4 in North America.

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According to a new report from research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), the PlayStation 4 will sell 51 million units globally by 2016, outpacing Microsoft's Xbox One. A preview of the report was shared with GamesIndustry International, and it has many other interesting takeaways.

Though the PS4 will have the greatest global market share by 2016, according to the report, the Xbox One will actually be the market leader in North America if Microsoft decides to offer a version of the console without Kinect, thereby lowering the price.

"The presumed unbundling of Kinect and Xbox One, which should facilitate rough price parity between it and the PS4, should lead to a spike in Xbox One sales," the firm said. "Assuming the console and sensor are unbundled in 2015, IDC expects Xbox One to recover and emerge with the largest installed base of any console in North America by the end of 2016."

Right now, the PS4 is the top next-generation console. It has sold more than 7 million units. Meanwhile, Nintendo's Wii U has sold 6.17 million consoles globally, while the only sold-through figure Microsoft has shared to date for the Xbox One is 3 million, though the company has shipped 5 million systems overall.

The IDC report goes on to say that Nintendo's struggling Wii U will get "the equivalent of a $50 price cut worldwide in late 2014 or early 2015." However, the IDC says this price cut will not be enough to help the Wii U catch up to competing consoles.

Finally, the IDC concluded that the traditional disc-based retail sector is expected to continue to decline, which you might expect as digital purchasing becomes more and more popular. To that end, the IDC also expects that by 2019, more than 50 percent of total game spending across all consoles will come through digital channels. "Rising digital revenue is forecast to nearly offset the fall in disc-based revenue," the group said.

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