SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Sony Corp's (6758.T) PlayStation 3 will double its installed base this year, posting the strongest growth of any video game console and narrowing the gap with rivals, research firm iSuppli said on Thursday.
Worldwide sales of the PS3 are expected to be 10 million units this year, compared with 12.2 million units for Nintendo Co Ltd's 7974.OS Wii and 7.5 million units for Microsoft Corp's(MSFT.O) Xbox 360, iSuppli said.
As widely expected given its strong sales, lower price and games that appeal to a broader audience, the Wii is in line to become the industry leader with a total global installed base of 30.2 million units.
"In this stage of the new-generation video game console market, consumers are showing they'd rather be entertained and pay less for their consoles than shell out more for the latest and greatest technology," iSuppli analyst Pam Tufegdzic said in a report.
The PS3, which has lagged the other consoles due to its high price and dearth of blockbuster games for most of last year, would double its base to 20.3 million and by 2011 would lead the industry with some 38.4 million users.
The Xbox 360, which has struggled in Japan and faces a tough battle in Europe where the Sony brand has dominated, would see its user base grow to 25.7 million units by the end of 2008.
Reporting by Scott Hillis, editing by Maureen Bavdek