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Gamestop executive says new console launches “seem imminent”

Xbox vs. PlayStation
Comments out of Gamestop’s investor day have added fuel to the rumor fire that new wave consoles, including the Nintendo NX, the rumored “PS4K,” and an upgraded Xbox One, may launch this year. During an investor briefing in Grapevine, Texas on Thursday, Gamestop COO Tony Bartel told shareholders that a series of new console launches “seems imminent,” according to Gamespot.

“Although we have not modeled extensive growth for new innovation in this presentation, we are very pleased to see the introduction of technology like virtual reality and rumored new console launches, some of which seem imminent,” Bartel said. His presentation also included a slide stating that “Virtual Reality and new consoles are expected to accelerate category growth in the near future.”

The news follows a series of reports indicating that all three home console manufacturers may launch new hardware in 2016. Multiple reports out of last month’s Game Developer’s Conference suggested Sony plans to launch a 4K- and VR-optimized version of the PS4. Recent FCC documents and leaked photos of new components suggest that Microsoft may launch an “Xbox One slim” in the near future. Meanwhile, Nintendo has said it will offer more information on its next console, codenamed “NX,” in 2016, but rumors and reports surrounding its development have suggested in may hit stores this year as well.

When asked specifically by investors if the new consoles he referred to included the Nintendo NX and other rumored consoles, Bartel said he could not comment. According to Gamespot, however, another company executive said, “As usual, we know more than we can share.” However, Gamestop projected that new consoles may generate $15 billion in sales over the next two years, based on market share. The gaming retailer expects to sell as many as a third of those consoles, earning the company a projected $5 billion.

Gamestop also stated that “expectations are very big” for VR hardware sales. Though Gamestop does not currently carry the Rift or Vive — unsurprising, given Oculus and HTC’s pre-order fulfillment issues — the company plans to build substantial market share in VR hardware sales in the next few year. In his presentation, Bartel projected Gamestop would command 20 percent marketshare by 2019, and generate $3 billion in sales. Gamestop is currently taking pre-orders for Sony’s PlayStation VR headset, which is on track to ship October 2016.

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Mike Epstein
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Michael is a New York-based tech and culture reporter, and a graduate of Northwestwern University’s Medill School of…
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