By Craig Zammit

The next generation of video games consoles, including the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation3 are expected to boost sales of flat screen television through electrical retailers over the next two years.

Despite rumours that the Sony PlayStation3 will not be ready by the end of the year, industry analysts believe any flow on effect into the high definition flat screen television market from this particular console will not occur until 2007.

The Xbox 360, which was expected to launch today, has been delayed until 23 March.

Research conducted by Microsoft USA found 90 per cent of people who bought an Xbox 360 said they had purchased or intended to purchase a high definition television screen.

“From a retailer’s point of view, there’s a huge potential opportunity with the Xbox 360,” said Microsoft Australia Xbox 360 product manager, Nick Segger.

A recent Gameplay Australia report, conducted by Bond University and the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA) found that the average age of a gamer has now risen to 24 years old and that 76 per cent of Australian households own a gaming device of some description. Of that 76 per cent, 57 per cent own a video games console and 70 per cent play at least once a week.

Last year, music and AV retailer, JB Hi Fi announced it was entering the $A900 million gaming market which competes with the $A850 million music software market and the $A1 billion DVD software market.

“Compared to CDs and DVDs, the floorspace required to achieve this ranging is significantly less as new releases account for most of the market and the back catalogue is limited,” said JB Hi-Fi CEO, Richard Uechtritz.

This article contains extracts from Game On – a special video gaming report to be published in the March 2006 edition of Appliance Retailer magazine.