The current generation of consoles still has three to four more years before newer hardware hits the market, but Nintendo’s next may arrive sooner, according to one analyst.
Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian said in an investor note on Monday, "At this point, we believe the consensus opinion among industry professionals is that the next significant hardware refresh is unlikely to occur before 2011, and more likely in 2012."
But he said Nintendo’s next home console could arrive before then. "One possible exception to console timing may be Nintendo, which could opt to upgrade the Wii with faster processing power, DVD capability and/or greater storage."
The original Xbox had roughly a four year run before its successor Xbox 360 came to market. PS2 was out for about six years prior to the release of PS3, and Nintendo’s GameCube had a five year run prior to Wii’s launch.
Sebastian also noted that Microsoft recently began production of a 65nm-based CPU for Xbox 360, and is also working on cutting costs in other areas related to Xbox 360 hardware.
The company is expected to cut the retail price of Xbox 360 later this year.
Commenting on the European market following last week’s Leipzig Games Convention, Sebastian also noted Sony’s heavy PS3 presence at the show. But he said the console is still not yet priced for true mass market penetration.
"While Sony is clearly not standing still, and is demonstrating some better momentum in North America, we do not believe the PS3 is likely to gain significant market share until hardware prices reach mass market levels," he said.