The online market is set to undergo considerable growth in 2010, according to UK-based analyst firm Screen Digest, and new motion control solutions from Microsoft and Sony will extend the current console generation.
Screen Digest predicts this year will see online game revenue, which currently holds about 18 percent of the physical and digital game market, expand to a stake of 24 percent in the market -- representing significant proportional growth of about 33 percent.
"Physical retail still dominates in market share terms, but with heavy growth in games content consumption on alternative devices and platforms, competition for gamers' spend is growing steadily," said Screen Digest games head Piers Harding-Rolls in a statement released alongside the firm's predictions.
The company believes that 20.2 million Xbox 360s and 20.1 million PlayStation 3s will be connected to the internet by the end of 2010, as compared to an expected 25.8 million Wiis, counting machines that have had an internet connection at least once throughout the year.
And those consoles will have even more time to further increase their install bases, thanks to the life-extending motion-control add-ons in the works from Microsoft and Sony, says Screen Digest.
Those peripherals will give the manufacturers freedom to reap the profit margin benefits of hardware that becomes cheaper as it increases in age -- and gives the two HD console manufacturers more firepower against the motion-centric Wii.
"Motion control games offer a unique respite for console platforms. They are as yet unique and can't be replicated by alternative platforms or on-demand solutions and so they represent an important development for both Sony and Microsoft," said Piers-Harding.