SAN FRANCISCO - Sony sent out invitations Thursday to a mystery event in New York City on February 20, sparking rumors that the world would get its first look at a new-generation PlayStation videogame console.
Both Sony and Microsoft are expected this year to show off successors to their competing consoles, which have been evolving into home entertainment hubs for films, television, music, social networking and more.
The PlayStation 3 was released in November 2006 and industry trackers believe a successor is on the near horizon.
In January, the number of PS3 units shipped by Sony hit an estimated 77 million units, according to market research firm International Data Corporation.
IDC gaming research manager Lewis Ward predicted at the time of the report that consoles will retain their strongholds in homes while expanding to include other digital entertainment.
"The console ecosystem is in a state of flux since these platforms need to support an ever-growing array of non-gaming features and services at the same time that game distribution and monetization is moving in a digital direction," Ward said.
"It doesn't appear that alternative platforms -- set-top boxes from cable companies, Web-connected smart TVs and so on -- are positioned to materially disrupt the trajectory of the 'big 3' console OEMs in 2013 or 2014."
Videogame industry sales should be bolstered by the arrival of next-generation videogame consoles from Sony and Microsoft, according to Ward.
"With the advent of eighth-generation consoles, starting with the Wii U, historical norms strongly imply that game disk revenue will stop bleeding in 2013 and rise substantively in 2014," he said in the report.
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