The video game console cycle typically lasts about five years before a new generation of hardware hits the market. Sony brought the PS3 to market more than six years after its predecessor, the PlayStation 2, debuted. By contrast, Microsoft replaced its original Xbox with the Xbox 360 after just four years.
IDC predicts the worldwide installed base of PS3 consoles will reach 23.8 million this year, up from 8.5 million last year. It projects Xbox 360 hitting 26.3 million, vs. 17.8 million in 2007.
Both, however, will trail Nintendo's value-priced Wii video game console, which is targeting casual gamers instead of the hard-core gamers Sony and Microsoft are pursuing. IDC forecasts the Wii reaching a worldwide installed base this year of 43.7 million, compared with 19.9 million last year.