Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has claimed that the unusually protracted console transition of the new generation is over, and that the industry has “turned a corner”, with a prediction that new console purchases will reach 200 million units in five to six years. This figure is around 18 percent higher than total console sales in the previous generation.
As reported by Reuters
from the news agency's Media Summit in New York, Riccitiello said, “Last Friday marked one of those points where you can say something's changed. Around the world, based on the data I've got, it was pretty clear that the transition is now over.”
With strong sales reported for all three console manufacturer’s over the U.S. Thanksgiving period, Riccitiello suggested that the recent price cut of the PlayStation 3 was one of the key catalysts for the improved market conditions.
"It looked like it might have been a two-horse race, but it's clearly a three-horse race," said Riccitiello. "I think from this point, pleasantly for me, it's sort of fat city in the game industry."
Although Sony has released no figures for its sales over the “Black Friday” week it did indicate that sales had increased by 245 percent
on the previous year. Meanwhile, the Xbox 360 sold 310,000 units
during the Thanksgiving week and Nintendo sold 350,000 units
of the supply constrained Wii.
Referring to the continuing success of the Wii Riccitiello said, "The Wii is a challenge for all of us... partly because of the strength of Nintendo and partly because it's a more casual game experience that most game companies aren't as comfortable building for as they are for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.” Electronic Arts currently only has around 14 percent of the Wii software market, compared to around 20 percent on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Finally, Riccitiello discussed the recent acquisition of BioWare and Pandemic but indicated that he felt most of the consolidation in the development industry had now already taken place. "Is it ripe or has it already been picked? I would argue that it's been largely picked," Riccitiello said. "That doesn't mean it's done. I think there will be more consolidation to come. But let's just say a lot has already happened."