Round three

Michael Pachter put his neck on the line recently, and stated that the PlayStation 4 will maintain control of the console space through 2015 – but this was before Microsoft's big NPD win in November. To his credit, the likeable forecaster is sticking with his reading of the situation, but a predictions post from Games suggests that not everyone in the field agrees.

Billy Pidgeon, an independent analyst, is one such expert who sees a turning of the tides of kinds over the next 12 months. "Xbox One hardware is indeed selling stronger at the end of 2014, and this should continue into 2015," he pointed out. "This is not because Sony is slipping, but because Microsoft is catching up. As hardware prices drop and exclusives and franchises begin to cluster on the Xbox One, an ever-larger group of gamers is upgrading from the Xbox 360."

Of course, it's unclear whether Pidgeon is looking at the global situation or just North America. From what we can see, Sony's next-gen format is stomping the competition in much of continental Europe and Asia, but the skirmish remains close in key countries such as the UK and the USA. To be fair, the analyst reckons that things will be tight moving forwards. "[I think that] the two consoles should be evenly matched throughout the cycle," he concluded.

David Cole from DFC Intelligence was a little more specific, agreeing with Pidgeon's predictions from an American perspective. "The PS4 is expected to continue to be the leading console system for this generation, but the Xbox One has a chance to take the lead in the USA," he said. "We think that [the Xbox One] will catch up with Sony in 2015, as it rides a general Microsoft marketing juggernaut. Of course, it says a lot that Microsoft has to spend that money to get market share."

As already alluded, though, Pachter stuck with his original analysis. "Assuming that the Xbox One reverts to the $399 price point, I think that Sony's first-party software will make a real difference in 2015," he exclaimed. "The company has a phenomenal lineup of exclusives, and they're spread throughout the year. This should keep interest in the PS4 high, and should allow Sony to extend its lead." The question is: who do you agree with?