4K Xbox One X console a winner for CI, as global games market tops $100 billion

posted on Wednesday, 14th June 2017 by Steve May

Blu-ray  4K  HDR  Games 

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A shift to 4K HDR gaming and immersive 3D sound looks likely to provide fresh impetus for the home cinema and media room business.

Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One X at E3, describing it as the most powerful console in the world. Formerly known as Project Scorpio, the console boasts a 6 teraflop GPU, 12GB of GDDR5 RAM, and 326GB/s of memory bandwidth. It comes with an integrated Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

The console will offer native 4K graphics and up to 60fps, and use Super-sampling to ensure games look better on 1080p screens too. Players will also be able to broadcast in 4K UHD using the streaming Mixer service. 

Dolby has also confirmed to Inside CI that the Xboix One X will support Dolby Atmos audio, both from UHD Blu-ray discs and within Xbox One X games.

reacting to the launch, SuperData analyst Joost van Dreunen describes the Xbox One X price of £449 as an "obvious weakness."  However, Xbox Master Chief Phil Spencer, speaking to trade magazine MVC, says the company expects to sell more Xbox One S units over the coming year, than Xbox One Xs. “That has always been the plan. That is the console that will drive most of the volume for us in pure unit sales.”

On the price differential between the PS4 Pro and X Box One X, Spencer says the PS4Pro is actually a competitor to the Xbox One S (pictured below).

Xbox One X And S Crop

The launch of the Xbox One X in Q4 potentially indicates an end to the traditional 6-8 year console cycle.  The move is expected to cause an uplift of Xbox One games, by 13 per cent to 70 million in 2017, shipped worldwide. Sony PlayStation 4 software sales are expected to be modest in comparison to Nintendo and Microsoft. Futuresource Consulting expects just a 3 per cent increase of PS4 game sales in 2017.   

“Sony PS4 Pro is a more typical mid-cycle console upgrade,” commenst FutureSource analyst Tristan Veale. “Sony has taken few risks with exception of omitting to include a UHD Blu-ray player but has a dominant position having outsold Xbox by two to one in this generation.”

Sony is also placing greater emphasis on virtual reality than Microsoft, evidenced by its recent announcement of 1 million PlayStation VR headsets sales.

“Global VR games demand is gradually expanding as head mounted display usage increases and games publishers boost their title rosters. It should be noted though that VR games demand remains at a low level in comparison to the scale of the overall games market,” adds Veale.

Sony sales global sales of the PS4 reached “more than 60.4m units” in June. PS4 software sales have topped 487.8m. The Sony PSN network has more than 70m monthly users.  According to IHS Markit, PS4 console sales will rise to 69m units by the end of the year. The install base of the Xbox One follows at around 36m. 

20 per cent of all PS4 sales are now the higher specified PS4 Pro model. IHS Markit expects the Xbox One X to account for 10 per cent of all Xbox One sales in Q4 2017, equating to 500,000 units worldwide. 

The global video games software market is on course to exceed $100 billion this year, enlivened by this new console activity, and increasing sales in mobile and PC, according to data from Futuresource. Consumer spending on mobile gaming will account for half ($45 billion) of all digital gaming software revenues this year, as smartphone and tablet install bases are increasingly reaching their peak in developed countries, and developing nations growth is booming.

“While sales of physical console games are declining, the speed of digital growth which includes forecasts of $30 billion in PC sales and another $12bn in online console spend are more than offsetting this trend,” says Veale.

The Nintendo Switch has outperformed initial expectations with hardware demand outstripping supply. Over 20 million physical Switch games are expected to be sold this year, with revenues bolstered further by Nintendo’s plans to launch an online subscription service.

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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