The death of consoles at the hands of digital distribution, smart TVs and other disruptive new technologies? A load of utter tosh, claim researchers at the International Data Corporation (IDC). The firm's recently published Worldwide Video Game and Entertainment Console Hardware and Packaged Software 2012-2016 Forecast suggests that the next generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles will once again dominate living rooms - though digital sales will continue to eat into boxed game margins.
"The console ecosystem is in a state of flux since these platforms need to support an ever-growing array of non-gaming features and services at the same time that game distribution and monetization is moving in a digital direction," commented Lewis Ward, research manager of IDC's Gaming service.
"At the same time, it doesn't appear that alternative platforms - set-top boxes from cable companies, Web-connected smart TVs, and so on - are positioned to materially disrupt the trajectory of the 'big 3' console OEMs in 2013 or 2014. Discs will remain the console game revenue mainstay for years to come."
"2011 and 2012 were tough for many console game disc developers and publishers," he went on. "With the advent of eighth-generation consoles, starting with the Wii U, historical norms strongly imply that game disc revenue will stop bleeding in 2013 and rise substantively in 2014."
According to the IDC, the volume of packaged games shipped will decline by an average of approximately 3 per cent through 2016, as spending shifts towards Xbox Live Arcade and its ilk. While we're talking boxes versus downloads, would you buy a disc-less Xbox 720?