Even though Sony's PlayStation 3 is far behind both the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 in console sales, analysts at Strategy Analytics contend that when all is said and done, Sony will sell more consoles than its competitors.
In a report titled, "Taming the Waves: Games Console Life Cycles and Platform Competition," analysts from Strategic Analytics said the PlayStation 3 will have a much longer shelf life than current market leader the Nintendo Wii.
In fact, the analyst firm claims that the PS3 will be a "commercial platform five years after the Wii has been replaced." Because of that, it believes that lifetime PS3 sales will hit 127 million units, while Nintendo will sell a grand total of 103 million Wii units.
"Nintendo has done a great job with the Wii in bringing console games to new audiences," David Mercer, Principal Analyst at Strategic Analytics said in a statement. "But its sales are now falling, particularly in mature markets, and its installed base will peak in 2011."
Mercer believes that PlayStation 3 ownership will hit its "highest point between 2012 and 2014."
Strategy Analytics derived its figures and predictions based on several scenarios for each platform. A key factor in those scenarios is an increasing consumer desire for more than just gaming built into their consoles. The market-research firm contends that could have the most damaging effect on the Wii.
That said, the firm was quick to point out that its forecasts could be off. It cited the upcoming release of Project Natal and Sony's motion controller as factors that could dramatically affect its predictions.
From a marketwide perspective, Strategy Analytics believes that current-generation-console ownership will hit its peak in 2011. Once that happens, it believes the big three game vendors will need to launch new consoles to "maintain industry growth."
The analysts' predictions seem to reflect what Sony has been saying since the PlayStation 3's launch. The company contends that early sales aren't everything and unlike its competition, the PlayStation 3 is on a "10-year life cycle" that will help it sell more consoles long after the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii are gone.