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A leading financial firm Merrill Lynch has said that Microsoft will win the upcoming games battle and their Xbox 360 will be the top selling console over the Sony PS3 and the Nintendo Wii.

According to an International Business Times report citing Yoshiyuki Kinoshita, research analyst for Merrill Lynch, the Tokyo-based division for the financial giant has predicted: “The winner in the next-generation console battle is likely to be the Xbox 360, which is the leader in North America, the world’s biggest market.”

In addition, Kinoshita’s research note revealed: “We forecast respective market shares [in March 2011] of Xbox 360 [at] 39 percent, PS3 [at] 34 percent and Wii [at] 27 percent, thus overturning Sony’s domination of the market with its PS2-based share of 69 percent, and doubling Microsoft and Nintendo’s respective market shares.”

Kinoshita clearly believes that no one company will dominate all territories however, suggesting that Sony will still have 57% of the console market share in Japan by that date, with Nintendo’s Wii at 39% and an unspecified small percentage for the Xbox 360.

However, it is his prediction for the North America market that is most startling and perhaps debatable, with his suggestion Microsoft will have 50% market share by 2011, of while the PlayStation 3 has just 27% and the Nintendo Wii 23%.

Anticipation is growing as Sony and Nintendo prepare for the North American releases of their latest gaming consoles. With Microsoft already set with the Xbox 360, and a strong offering from Nintendo, some experts believe that Sony will lose its tight grip on the worldwide gaming market.

 Although Sony plans to launch its Playstation 3 console in North America on November 17, with Nintendo following shortly after, Microsoft already launched its next-generation console last November. The unchallenged twelve-month advantage has given the software maker a sizeable lead.

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