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Report: Gaming Consoles To End 4-Year Market Slide this Year

A new report from International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that gaming console bundle shipments in 2013 will top the approximately 33 million units shipped in 2012, bringing an end to a four-year downturn for the market segment that began in 2009.

Educational gaming is big business and only getting bigger, according to a recent Venture Beat report, accounting for $1.5 billion last year and predicted by Ambient Insight to reach $2.3 billion in 2017. In a recent article for THE Journal, Dian Schaffhauser suggested that learning games may be appealing to educators because they are data rich, they allow students to enjoy themselves as they struggle to solve problems, and 97 percent of kids between 12- and 17-years-old were playing some kind of digital game as far back as 2009, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The report, "Worldwide Connected Game and Entertainment Console and Connected Smart TV, Microconsole, and Set-Top Box Gaming 2013–2017 Forecast," also "predicts that prepaid full-game, micro-game, and add-on download revenue derived through connected console channels (Xbox Live, PlayStation Store, and eShop) will exceed that of worldwide PC-based prepaid full-game, micro-game, and add-on download revenue (i.e., digital PC games distributed through Steam, Origin, and Amazon.com) for the first time this year. Connected console subscription revenue (Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus) is also rising in 2013 while subscription-based PC game revenue (i.e., World of Warcraft) is in decline."

The report also forecasts a rise in spending associated with smart TVs, microconsoles, and gaming-capable set-top-boxes, but predicts that they will remain less than 10 percent of all TV-centric gaming-related spending through 2017.

"The differences between traditional game consoles, PCs connected to HDTV's, and a variety of set-top-boxes and smart TVs that can play games will eventually be semantic," said Lewis Ward, research manager, Gaming at IDC, in a prepared statement. "And it appears unlikely that Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony will be driven out of the living room from a gaming perspective by 2017 as result of non-console competition from the likes of Valve/Steam, OUYA, cable/telecom companies, or related hardware and Web service providers."

The full report is available for $4,500 at idc.com.

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