In a report issued earlier this year, IDC analyst Billly Pidgeon projected sales numbers for the three next-gen consoles, through 2012.
Pidgeon suggested that by 2012, the PS3 will lead the pack, with more than 107 million units sold worldwide, while the Wii will be just behind, at nearly 107 million units.
In the shorter term, however, IDC suggested that the Wii is poised to be the dominant console, most likely overtaking the Xbox this year in total sales.
"Our forecast calls for the Wii outshipping the Xbox 360 and the PS3 through 2010," Pidgeon wrote.
To some, the big shock in Pidgeon's report is that the Xbox 360 will have fallen far behind by 2012, with just over 40 million units sold.
To Pachter, these predictions have the ring of truth.
"I think Microsoft has an image issue," said Pachter. "They've branded themselves as the hard-core gaming rig, and I just don't think that the hard-core audience is that big. Thirty or forty million, but not 120 million. I think they're going to keep capturing the hard-core, but they're never going to appeal to family, and Sony's always going to appeal to family."
Microsoft clearly disputes this conclusion.
Analysts also expect both Microsoft and Sony will cut their prices between now and the 2009 holiday season to boost sales. More info over here.