Analyst: Consoles Will Generate $8 Billion in Online Sales in 2013

Five years is virtually an eternity in gaming years, but that hasn't stopped analyst Michael Cai at Parks Associates from looking that far into the future and predicting that online-enabled consoles like the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii will generate $8 billion in revenue in 2013, as relayed by Gamasutra.

Cai sees growth in digital distribution services for games and videos as well as "avatar-based microtransactions" for services like Xbox Live avatars, PlayStation Home, and subscription fees for Xbox Live and console MMO games.

Underpinning all that growth will be an ever-increasing user base with broadband internet connections. The report notes that Microsoft currently leads the online market with the successful Xbox Live Marketplace, but Sony and Nintendo may catch up in the near future with their respective marketplaces PlayStation Store and Wii Shop Channel.

Online sales on consoles are currently in the hundreds of millions but rapidly expanding. Microsoft, for example, made $180 million in the last year. Counting digital sales on PCs, Electronic Arts earned $90 million in just three months. Meanwhile, across the entire PC market, digital distribution was worth nearly $2 billion last year.

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