International Data Corporation, an American market research, analysis and advisory firm specializing in information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology, believes the lower price point of PlayStation 4 among a "variety of factors" will give it an edge over Xbox One in the market this holiday season.
According to the latest IDC report, via Gamespot, the number of consoles shipped during the current year will also be "marginally higher" worldwide than in 2012 when global units shipped hit 33 million.
The firm's gaming research manager Lewis Ward also predicted in the report that "prepaid full-game, micro-game, and add-on revenue" generated through Xbox Live, PSN, and eShop will exceed worldwide PC-based digital sales fir the first time in 2013, and that while sub-based PC revenue is on the decline, Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus sales are up for the year.
The online console market will hit 165 million users worldwide by 2017, and as a result, the opportunity to sell digital assets "through Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4 online storefronts will grow substantially in the next several years."
With China recently lifting the ban on consoles, at least partially, Ward expects millions of hardware units to sell for the big three over the next few years.
Ward also said in the report he doesn't expect Ouya, Steam Machines, smart TVs, or other consoles to drive Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony "out of the living room from a gaming perspective by 2017."