Sony PS4 set to trump Microsoft Xbox One amid games console market recovery

This holiday season, gamers are more likely to unwrap a PlayStation 4 than an Xbox One, according to new predictions from IDC.

The research firm this week predicted that Sony's next-generation console will "edge out" Microsoft's Xbox One in sales over the holidays. The forecast was based on a variety of factors, most notably the PS4's lower price point.

The PS4 will hit store shelves in Europe on 29 November for £349, while Microsoft's Xbox One launches on 22 November for £429. While it's £80 more expensive, Microsoft's option comes bundled with the new Kinect.

IDC's predictions coincide with a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, which found that more US shoppers are eyeing the PlayStation 4 than the Xbox One. More than a quarter of the almost 1,300 people surveyed said they are likely to purchase Sony's upcoming PlayStation; only 15 per cent chose the Xbox One.

Meanwhile, IDC has also predicted that worldwide games console shipments will be up in 2013 for the first time since 2009. The firm predicted that the number of game console bundles shipped worldwide in 2013 will be "marginally higher" than the 2012 total of approximately 33 million bundles.

As for other trends, connected console channels like Xbox Live and the PlayStation Store are expected to drive more download revenue than PCs for the first time this year. Moreover, subscription revenue from connected consoles is on the rise this year, while subscription-based PC game revenue (from games like World of Warcraft) is declining.

"The number of online console gamers around the globe is on pace to exceed 165 million by 2017," IDC gaming research manager Lewis Ward said in a statement. The Chinese government's recent decision to lift the ban on consoles will also be good news for the gaming industry, leading to millions of additional hardware bundle sales, he said.

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