Current-Gen PS4 and XO Titles to Have “Longer Tails” Due to Shortage of Next-Gen Releases and Backwards Compatibility, NPD Expects

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Current-gen PS4 and Xbox One titles are expected to see refreshed demand due to shortage of next-gen game releases and backwards compatibility.

A new blog post from NPD industry analyst Mat Piscatella contains several interesting predictions for this year’s holiday season for the US. On several occasions, we already wrote about the expected strong demand, and shortages, for Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X|S consoles. Piscatella’s post, however, also mentions revitalized demand for current-gen titles alongside a demand surge for gaming headsets, controllers. In addition, due to the limited capacity of the next-gen SSD drives inside the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, additional storage accessories might very well be in high demand for early adopters.

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“Backwards compatibility and shortage of next generation releases will result in longer tails for legacy generation titles”, the NPD analyst writes. “I am expecting many titles from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One catalogs to see refreshed demand with adoption of next generation consoles. We will not see the sharp platform breaks that were experienced in prior generational transitions.”

We’ve included the rest of Piscatella’s Holiday 2020 predictions down below:

  • PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series console sales will sizzle – I’ll start with the most obvious prediction. PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles should be among the hottest holiday gifting items of 2020. Units will be tough to find with continued strong demand into 2021.
  • Nintendo Switch will be the best-selling console of holiday 2020 – Switch will also be a hot holiday gifting item with more households picking up multiple Switch consoles in the fourth quarter. The lack of available inventory of new PlayStations and Xbox systems will leave Switch as an appealing available option (although supply may still be difficult to find).
  • Gamepad and headset spending will set new holiday records – These accessory segments have shown extended strength for months; and with new consoles on the way, I expect a refreshed demand surge for gamepads and headsets throughout the holiday window. This will allow both to achieve new record-spending highs.
  • Holiday 2020 hardware will see the lowest price promotion in history – The surge in hardware demand seen throughout the spring and summer months of 2020 has left inventories for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles lean, leaving little incentive to price promote. While some bundling for legacy hardware may exist, particularly around Black Friday, I do not see price promotion being a significant factor in the holiday 2020 market.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will be the best-selling game of 2020 – And Call of Duty will be the U.S. market’s best-selling gaming franchise for the 12th consecutive year.
  • Subscription spending will surge – This area has been a growth segment for some time, but an emphasis on these services with next generation consoles will lead to a sharp uptick for early adopters. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will be a primary driver.
  • Next generation’s limited storage provides opportunity for storage accessories – The included SSD hard drives on the next generation consoles are not particularly large. For those early adopters who will want to dive into their content libraries or explore the content available through subscription services and free-to-play live service games, additional storage may become a must-have.

Do you agree with Piscatella’s predictions? Hit the comments down below.

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