Speaking at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival this morning, former SCEE president Chris Deering predicted Sony and Nintendo will tie in the hardware sales stakes by 2011.
The EIF chairman presented figures he arrived at by triangulating Screen Digest and IDG data. He also took into account factors such as the growth of high definition and the grey gamer market, the emergence of new game engines and the increased ubiquity of Wi-Fi access.
He said the active installed base for hardware is set to rise from 316 million to 500 million over the next three years, with "two big mega-powers" leading the charge.
According to Deering, sales of the DS and any future iterations of the hardware will reach 150 million by 2011, while the figure for Wii will be 80 million. He predicted the installed base for PS3 will be 70 million, and said for PS2 it will be 90 million and PSP will be 70 million.
In other words, Sony and Nintendo will each have sold 230 million machines.
Deering said he believes the 360 and any sequels will experience "decent growth", predicting an installed base of 40 million by 2011. He observed this figure is higher than some analysts are projecting, adding, "This is not necessarily because I've got some issues with 360 in Continental European countries et cetera, but because of the set-top box hi-def phenomenon."
In addition, Deering predicted the number of potential gamers will rise to 2.5 billion worldwide when also taking into account the installed bases for computers and mobile phones.