Jay Srivatsa, a senior analyst for research firm iSuppli, said console sales have slowed significantly this year, in contrast with the steady growth that has marked the industry until now. He expects sales to be flat for the year and down as much as 10% in 2005, when the major console makers start laying the foundation for a new generation of consoles.
Sony recently trimmed 2003 sales estimates for its PlayStation 2 console, from 22.5 million to 20 million, while Microsoft has said it's on track to ship between 14.5 million and 16 million units of its Xbox by mid-2004. Nintendo faces the biggest risk, Srivatsa said. The company has temporarily halted production of its GameCube console to eat up excess inventory and managed to ship a scant 80,000 units during its most recent quarter.
Srivatsa said he expects another round of price cuts before the end of the year, with Xbox and PS2 dropping to $150 and the GameCube somewhere below that.