By Mike Snider, USA TODAY
There's increased rumblings that both Microsoft and Sony might be ready to launch new video game systems in 2013.
And that Nintendo's Wii U might be hitting stores Nov. 18.
Those vibrations emerge from video game retailer GameStop's annual fall preview, held Wednesday in San Antonio.
After attending the event, Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian noted in a report issued today that "while we remain somewhat concerned about lack of 'buzz' ahead of the Wii U launch, the industry remains on the cusp of a significant upgrade cycle with new Xbox and PS4 consoles next year."
Nintendo is expected to price the Wii U at between $249 and $299, he says. The game maker "has a narrow window of opportunity to generate broad consumer interest in the platform before next-gen Microsoft and Sony platforms are announced" in the first half of next year and launched in the final three months of 2013, he concludes.
The prevailing view has been that either Microsoft or Sony would bring out a new system in 2013, with the other holding off until 2014, says Arvind Bhatia, analyst at investment firm Sterne Agee, who also attended GameStop's expo.
However, he notes in his report issued Thursday, that "there is growing belief/speculation that both Microsoft and Sony will launch their next-gen consoles in the fall of 2013 and the announcements will likely be in the early part of next year."
If both companies bring out new systems in 2013, he says, "it will be a positive for" GameStop.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Skylanders Giants were among fall video game releases getting a lot of attention, Bhatia says. But Borderlands 2 is also "generating a lot of buzz."
Other key releases that were on display included Assassin's Creed III and Halo 4. Sebastian's sleepers: Hitman: Absolution and Dishonored.
Sebastian is among the industry experts who participated in Game Hunters fall preview and offered perspectives on upcoming game releases and industry issues.