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Xbox 720 and PS4 – how successful will they be?

They are the consoles that gaming fans everywhere are waiting with baited breath to see. The Xbox 720 and Playstation 4 may still be a long way off, but that hasn’t stopped the countdown to their release beginning.

More optimistic observers had predicted a first showing at E3 this year, but that looks increasingly less likely these days. Instead we should (hopefully) get a first look at some point in 2013.

For now we’ll have to make do with the current generation of consoles, and feed our next-gen craving with the Nintendo Wii U that’s due in time for Christmas this year.

Of course, the Wii U will be fantastic piece of gaming kit. But while Nintendo have assured us that it will be more of a gamer’s console, it’s never going to be able to live up to the likes of the Xbox or Playstation.

But are the next generation of Xbox and PS4 going to be able to live up to the incredibly high bar set by their predecessors?

Xbox 720 and PS4 sales

According to one industry analyst, they won’t even come close. Analytics firm Piper Jaffray has said that both the Xbox 720 and PS4 will sell around half the amount of their predecessors.

“We believe console gaming will continue to be a time-share donor to social networks, mobile games and tablets,” the firm said.

“We therefore favour companies with increasing exposure to social/mobile gaming, including Zynga and EA,” it added.

So is there any truth the claims? It would certainly continue the trend set by the previous two generations. The PS2 is still the most successful gaming machine in history, selling more than 150 million units.

Neither the PS3 or Xbox 360, or Nintendo Wii for that matter, have come anywhere close to that number. So no matter how good the next generation is, it is always going to struggle to recreate the zenith of gaming.