Game console sales are predicted to rebound this year after a four-year slide, according to new data from research firm IDC.
Lewis Ward, IDC's research manager, said console shipments for 2013 will hit 34 million. That's up from the roughly 33 million units that hit store shelves in 2012, according to IDC.
Console buyers also will more likely pick up Sony's PlayStation 4 than the Microsoft Xbox One, IDC said, with the former inching out the latter in sales this holiday season. Ward did not provide more-specific sales projections.
The console market has been in need of some help. As the Wii's popularity started to decline, seventh-generation console shipments, which included the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, started to fall. Sony and Microsoft have helped prop up the market, but with the hardware getting long in the tooth, consumers are ready for something new.
Out of the 33 million consoles shipped last year, 30 million were seventh-generation consoles. The remaining three million were Wii U shipments, according to IDC. By 2017, the market will flip, according to IDC, which predicts 42 million eighth-generation console shipments and just 3 million seventh-generation console shipments.
As more hardware hits store shelves, the size of the online console gaming community is expected to reach mammoth proportions. According to Ward, by 2017, more than 165 million people across the globe will identify themselves as online console gamers. Ward didn't say how many people will be playing consoles offline.