Following its announcements at last week's Game Developers Conference, Lazard's Colin Sebastian says Sony was the "comeback story" with the announcement of Home
and the introduction of further PS3 development tools and technologies.
"While concerns over demand for next-generation hardware have overshadowed the initial ramp in sales of Sony’s PS3 since November," said Sebastian, "we note that attendees of the annual Game Developers Conference last week were generally focused on future industry growth drivers, including a robust pipeline of next-generation software across multiple console, handheld and PC platforms, and emerging revenue streams such as online, mobile and advertising."
That was particularly true for Sony, Lazard's "comeback story," with Home
and Sony's PS3 development tools generating "significant interest" from the development community.
itself, according to Sebastian, "could represent an important milestone for Sony as it seeks to build a stronger community for PS3 owners, as well as narrow the gap with Microsoft’s Xbox Live, which is already a popular and more established online service."
Sebastian also says that based on conversations at GDC, the possibility for a revamp of Sony's PSP hardware, as well as its target market, could be due for a change. "Sony could be preparing to bolster the PSP handheld market with a shift in marketing towards a younger demographic, possibly including a hardware price cut later this year," he said, adding that "a combination of a lower hardware price and stronger software release lineup is necessary for meaningful expansion of the PSP market."
Looking beyond Sony, Sebastian says momentum will remain strong for the Nintendo Wii, with developers and publishers continuing to add resources for both it and the DS, and adds that the group continues to believe the "Wii has the potential to drive the expansion of the video game market to a broader and more casual audience."
In Microsoft's court, Sebastian sees Halo 3
and Grand Theft Auto 4
leading a strong 2007 lineup, and the Live community benefiting from its 6 million users and 2 million messages sent per day. He also adds that, leading its two rival consoles, "the Xbox is one of the few “living room” devices that can store and play digital media such as TV and movies that are directly downloaded over the Internet."