The next generation of console hardware will be comprised of off-the-shelf PC components and retail for US$350-$400 (AU$330-$380), according to Baird Equity Research.

Those predictions were two of many the research firm made in a note to investors after attending CES.

"Our checks suggest that next-generation console hardware will be largely built from 'off the shelf' high-end PC components, along with hybrid physical/digital distribution models, enhanced voice controls and motion sensing (Kinect integration with every Xbox), and broad multi-media capabilities," said Baird’s Colin Sebastian.

A PC-based architecture would mean a shorter learning curve for software developers, he said.

"It will be easier to build online services around PC chip architecture, including flexible business models (free-to-play, subscriptions) and multi-media content offerings. For Microsoft, this design will also allow for more integration with Windows 8 and Windows Mobile devices."

Sebastian also said a new Sony console would launch in October and the next Xbox would debut in November, although he predicted manufacturing issues for the PlayStation 4.

“Our field checks suggest there may be early production issues with Sony’s PS4, which, if accurate, could limit unit shipments or regions at launch.”

The potential launch of two consoles this year would make E3 2013 the most important game conference since Y2K, added Sebastian.

“Given the fragile state of the console game market, we expect the E3 trade show in June will take on added significance,” he said.