Following some spectacular verbal duelling between the console platform holders on the state of play between PS3 and Xbox 360 this week, Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter has told GameDaily he believes both sides make valid points.
Kicking off the latest war of words between Sony and Microsoft, PlayStation boss Kaz Hirai told the UK OPM that Xbox 360 had "longevity" issues and that PS3 was the "official" leader in the games arms race.
Xbox's Aaron Greenberg responded by calling Sony "out of touch" and saying that 360's US lead was unassailable, among other things. He probably said something about Kaz's "mom," too.
"Aaron Greenberg is right that Sony likely won't catch Microsoft in the US until at least 2014," said Pachter.
"Kaz is right that Sony will likely catch Microsoft globally."
The analyst added:
"Please keep in mind that both consoles are offered in North America, Europe and Japan. Sony likely has a 4 million unit lead in Japan, is behind by 7 million in North America, and is behind in Europe by 2 million. My guess is that Sony can sell 2 million PS3s per year more than Microsoft in Japan for the next several years, and can catch up in Europe in two or three years. So by the end of 2011, Sony should be even in Europe, ahead by 10 million units in Japan, and behind by a greater margin than 7 million in North America. If the Xbox 360 outsells the PS3 by 1 million units per year for 2009, 2010 and 2011, the two consoles will be in a dead heat by the end of 2011.
"You should note that the 360 outsold the PS3 in the U.S. by 1.2 million units in 2008 (according to NPD), with an average price of $300 compared to an average for PS3 of $418. If PS3 comes down to $299 some time this year, it's likely that the two consoles will sell around the same number of units, with a slight edge to Sony because of Blu-ray. If the 360 price is cut further, Microsoft can likely sustain its advantage, but it may have difficulty selling 1 million more per year."
Expect more clashes of the titans as we move through the year.