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The market of video game consoles is set to explode next year because of the release of new generation gaming machines, namely Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3, research firm iSuppli Corp. said on Wednesday. Going forward, the market of game devices is expected to continue to expand at least till 2009.

“After declining by 9.1% in 2005 to 28 million units, the introduction of the next-generation consoles will cause the market to boom to reach nearly 40 million units in 2006, not including handheld game players,” iSuppli said in a statement.

According to the figures provided by the company, the market of game consoles was at about 30 – 31 million of units in 2004, but declined to 28 million of units in 2005 and is set to grow towards more than 45 million per year by 2009, at least, the research says.

Microsoft Corp. and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. usually do not provide the number of the latest game consoles they plan to sell in the first year, or the fist six months, after the introduction. Nevertheless, it is estimated that Microsoft intends to sell from 2.75 to 3 million Xbox 360 gaming machines in the first three months after the introduction.  

It is unknown, how many PlayStation 3 units Sony prepares to ship in the first months after the launch, but the success of new breed of consoles is only a part of the overall success of the video game console market in general. For instance, Sony recently boosted sales estimates for the current-generation PlayStation 2 machine, which means that the interest towards consoles rises as a general rule. 

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