Wednesday 21 March 2018

Let the games begin! Consoles battle for festive market

A gamer plays the new Sony PlayStation 4 in Florida. It goes on sale here next week. Joe Raedle/Getty
A gamer plays the new Sony PlayStation 4 in Florida. It goes on sale here next week. Joe Raedle/Getty
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

The gaming console wars kicked off in earnest this week with Sony revealing that it sold over one million units of its Playstation 4 console in the machine's first 24 hours of sale.

The device, which will cost €400 when it goes on sale in Ireland next week, is set to do battle in shops with Microsoft's Xbox One, which goes on sale tomorrow for €500.

At stake is control of an annual €14bn global market featuring blockbuster games that sometimes earn over €100m each.

Ireland, which once had the highest penetration of Playstation consoles per household in the world, still has a higher proportion of console game-players than almost all other European countries. Retailers warn that customers who have not pre-booked either console are unlikely to get one before Christmas.

Globally, the console games market is shrinking at over 15pc per year, according to sales-tracking analysts. Five years ago the sector garnered €23bn in revenue. This has been cut to under €15bn due largely to the rise of alternative game-playing devices, particularly tablet PCs and smartphones.

Sony has targeted the sale of five million Playstation 4 consoles by March 31, when its financial year ends. The company is also hoping that the new console can help build a platform for recovery at the Japanese company's money-losing electronics operations. Meanwhile, Microsoft has had to reverse several key facets of its Xbox One console following heavy criticism of its initial plan to not allow second-hand games to be played on the unit. The software giant is positioning the console as a home entertainment unit with extended online features.

Early reviews of both units have been positive, with a number of high-profile game publishers positioning their titles to launch in tandem with the new consoles.

Irish Independent

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