A quarter of gamers said they would buy a new console from Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo if it were released in the next two years.
Nintendo is heavily expected to kick off the next "next generation" of consoles this year at E3 with its mysterious "Project Cafe," but while the Wii (at least) could desperately use some new hardware it's less certain how gamers will react.
A new Neilsen survey attempts to shed light on precisely that, by asking gamers everywhere two questions covering a wide range of platforms: 1.) Do they believe a successor to (Insert Platform Here) will be coming in the next two years, and 2.) Would they be interested in purchasing it within six months of release?
The answers were fairly similar for all of the "Big Three." 47% of people believed that Nintendo's new hardware would show up in the next two years, compared to 40% and 37% for a successor to the Xbox 360 and PS3, respectively. Roughly a quarter of all gamers surveyed said they would buy one of the hypothetical systems within six months of release - 27% for a new Nintendo console, 25% for a new Microsoft console, and 24% for a new Sony console.
18% said they would be interested in purchasing a new gaming-centric iPad, equal to the 18% of gamers who said they would be interested in a hypothetical followup to Nintendo's recent 3DS - which, if you're assuming it's a "3DS Lite" hardware revision, isn't out of the question. In comparison, only 13% of those surveyed said they were interested in Sony's NGP.
While the Wii's successor was marginally ahead in the overall polls, Neilsen found that gamers who owned both a Wii and one of the other consoles were less likely to want to buy Nintendo's next console as they were a successor to its partner: When it came to Wii/Xbox 360 owners, 46% said they would be interested in buying a new Xbox as opposed to only 37% for Nintendo's next showing. The numbers were slightly closer with Wii/PS3 owners, 44% of whom expressed interest in a new PlayStation, against 40% who were interested in the next Wii.
Of course, this is purely theoretical. Real interest will be driven by features, games, and price, which are all completely up in the air at this point.
We'll learn more next week at E3.