SAN JOSE, Calif. The Nintendo Wii commanded 43 percent of the unit market for videogame consoles in 2009. But Sony and Microsoft are expected to challenge the Wii's dominance in a relatively flat market this year by focusing on new motion-control technologies, according to market watcher iSuppli Corp.
"Sony's Move motion-sensing controller, as well as Microsoft's Project Natal, will breathe new life into the console market," said Pamela Tufegdzic, analyst for consumer electronics at iSuppli in a prepared statement. "Both companies hope to broaden the gaming audience by targeting the larger casual market—which will give Sony and Microsoft a stake in the ground toward this highly-sought-after area," she said.
The Sony and Microsoft motion controllers will be released in time for the 2010 holiday season. Because they will work with existing Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles, iSuppli expects the overall console market in 2010 to experience only 2.2 percent growth in unit shipments.
Unit shipments will rise by just 4.4 percent in 2011 as the platforms mature, iSuppli predicts. New generation consoles are expected in late 2011 to 2012, said Tufegdzic.
The Sony PlayStation Move detects a user's movements in multiple dimensions, said Tufegdzic. In addition, a glowing sphere on the Move controller identifies a user's location in the room working in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye camera. The video capture then puts the user directly in the game with added voice activation, something the Wii does not do, she added.
By contrast, Microsoft's Project Natal likely will consist of a nine-inch-wide horizontal bar with an infrared projector and a monochrome CMOS sensor, allowing the sensor to see in 3-D in ambient light conditions. Microsoft says the software enables advanced gesture recognition, facial recognition and voice recognition.
Tufegdzic's observations are part of a regular monthly report from the market watcher.