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Forward-looking: Which console is set to become the holiday season's best-seller? Could the Xbox Series X or S take the crown, or will the PlayStation 5 live up to its pre-release hype? According to an industry analyst, none of the above; it'll be the Nintendo Switch.
The claim is one of several predictions from Mat Piscatella, a US games industry analyst from NPD Group. He writes that PS5 and Xbox Series sales will "sizzle" and become some of the hottest gift items of the season, but as we already know, getting hold of a next-gen console won't be easy.
It's this lack of PS5/Xbox Series inventory that will allow Switch sales to flourish. The hybrid device is reportedly increasing production to address availability problems of its own, and Piscatella believes they'll be a lot easier to find than a Microsoft/Sony machine. He also predicts that more households will pick up multiple Switch units.
We're now learning details of the upcoming consoles' backwards compatibility abilities—Microsoft just revealed the Xbox Series X/S can boost older games' framerates, graphics, and loading times. Combined with a dearth of next-gen launch titles, this means PS4 and Xbox One catalogs are expected to see renewed demand.
Other predictions include record spending on gamepads and headsets, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War becoming the best-selling game of the year, and an uptick in subscription spending.
If you're eyeing a PS4 or Xbox One and holding out for a big price reduction, you might be disappointed. Piscatella says the season will see the lowest price promotions in history, a result of the pandemic-induced surge in hardware sales over the summer that has left retailers with "little incentive" to discount remaining units.
As we already know, Covid-19 restrictions and their effect on society have boosted the video game market. NPD writes that combined consumer spending on games and hardware during November and December will reach $13.4 billion, up 24 percent compared to the same period last year, while the 2020 total could exceed a record $50 billion.