Sony sent out invitations Thursday to a mystery event in New York City on February 20, sparking rumours that the world would get its first look at a new-generation PlayStation videogame console.

Both Sony and Microsoft are expected this year to show off successors to their competing consoles, which have been evolving into home entertainment hubs for films, television, music, social networking and more.

The PlayStation 3 was released in 2006 and industry trackers believe a successor is on the near horizon.

In January, the number of PS3 units shipped by Sony hit an estimated 77 million units, according to a market research firm.

Experts predict that consoles will retain their strongholds in homes while expanding to include other digital entertainment.Videogame industry sales should be bolstered by the arrival of next-generation videogame consoles from Sony and Microsoft, according to Ward.

“With the advent of eighth-generation consoles, starting with the Wii U, historical norms strongly imply that game disk revenue will stop bleeding in 2013 and rise substantively in 2014,” gaming research manager Lewis Ward said.AFP