Ever since the current generation of console gaming began, The Big N took the competition by storm, they focused on gameplay and not graphics, pitched their new console with a fair amount of good games, and slapped a $250 price tag, while the Xbox360 and the PS3 sold for $400 and $600, respectively.
Fast forward 4 years later, and the Wii has sold around 80 million units world-wide, while the X360 sold 42 million, and Sony’s PS3 sold 39 million. Add to the fact that Sony started selling the PS3 at a loss to be able to compete in the long run, and the fact that they had to remove the PS2 compatibility, and you start realizing that Sony were suffering when compared to Nintendo.
Sony and Microsoft had to reduce the prices of their consoles to compete with Nintendo’s Wii, while the Wii remained at $250 for quite a while. Now, the PS3 250GB sells for $300, the X360 250GB sells for $300, while the Wii sells for $200, in case you’re wondering, the Wii has a 512MB drive.
While some might argue that the Wii is about gameplay and not storing songs and movies, you still need memory to save your downloads from the shopping channel. Case in point, Microsoft has a 4GB X360 that doesn’t sell much when compared to its 250 counterpart, this is mainly due to the fact that the many great games on XBLA are usually more than 1GB in size.
The Wii had only one ace up its sleeves, and that was gameplay. No “Plan B” in case of emergencies, but just the good ol’ Wii remote and Nunchuck.
The main audience for the Wii were the casual crowd, and the hardcore gamers were the victims, not only did the Wii not get the state of the art games that were released on the X360 and PS3, but they also received some childish cartoon-like versions of games being released on other consoles, such as EA’s Madden and FIFA franchises.
The Wii has performed admirably during the last 4 years, and has reached new heights, while the other companies were recording losses, Nintendo was one of the most successful companies in the last 4 years.
Now however, Sony and Microsoft have announced their motion gaming devices, both inspired by the Wii, but both are quite different and more advanced. This coupled with the fact that they can be implemented on the games the hardcore crowd love like Burnout, Uncharted and the like, and Nintendo seems a lot less threatening to Sony and Microsoft.
Sony didn’t shy away from admitting that they blatantly copied Nintendo’s controller, they even went on to say “We’re aiming for the Wii crowd that are looking to make the move to HD consoles”. As the age old saying goes: “If you can’t beat them, join them”.
Sony have admitted that they are aiming to do what Nintendo has done, getting the casual crowd to play the PS3, and gratifying the hardcore crowd in the process, with motion controls being implemented in games such as Heavy Rain and Call Of Duty (and hopefully Uncharted 2), the Play Station suddenly looks like a completely different beast.
Microsoft copied Nintendo’s ideas and implemented some of their own along the way, they also shamelessly started taking a very Nintendo-like approach, with their new Kinectimals (Nintendogs, anybody?). However these strategies are going to be truly effective in the near future.
Anyone who dreamed of playing GTAIV on the Wii might have the chance to do so after all. The entire gaming consortium wishing that Uncharted 2 would someday be played with a nunchuck and Wii remote might have their wishes fulfilled after all.
The Playstation Move is the one to keep an eye on in the near future, while Kinect is more advanced in terms of technology, it won’t be as satisfying as the Move (or Wii remote for that matter) despite its creativity, because for most hardcore gamers, you need to experience the pleasure of pressing the buttons. And after all, playing Call of Duty with a Move or Wii remote that resemble a weapon are definitely more entertaining than not holding anything at all.
Sony has not only opened new doors and new possibilities for themselves, but also gave new gamers a good reason to buy the old PS3 games like GTAIV and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, add to the fact that Sony’s PSN store is superior to that of Nintendo’s sadly declining Shopping Channel, and it would seem that the PS3 is one for the future.
The one downside for the PS3 and it’s Move bundle is the price tag. $400 plus tax for the PS3 and the Move bundle excluding the navigation controller (PS3’s version of the Nunchuck) might turn off a lot of people, but all anyone needs to do is to check whether or not the PS3 will be a worthy investment, and it most definitely will be.
Indeed the PS3 with the Move and the navigation controller will cost over $450, but the Move and Kinect have increased the PS3 and Xbox360’s lifespan by at least 3 years, during which gamers will have AAA titles like Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3 and the likes being released, while the Wii has only few quality games at the moment, and all the great titles to be expected are mostly going to be Nintendo titles.
Developers also noted that many Wii owners illegally download Wii games from the internet, while the PS3’s blu ray discs are hard to crack, not to mention that many users would never do such a thing simply to be able to play online.
The Wii doesn’t have much strengths at the moment, their latest motion control update was Wii Motion Plus, and strangely the idiocy of many game developers choosing to not implement it in the game has only made the Wii library somewhat weaker, No More Heroes 2 lacking Motion Plus was one of the many strange decisions that has made some games fail in realizing their potential.
Another problem Nintendo has is the decline of the virtual console, despite the fact that the Big N has the NES, SNES, N64 and many other classic consoles on its shopping channel. But the N64 has less than 20 titles, titles like Banjo Kazooie, Golden Eye and Conker’s Bad Fur Day will most likely never be released due to the fact that they were developed by Rare (despite the fact that Rare stated they wouldn’t mind releasing them on the VC), while Harvest Moon 64’s codes are hard to emulate, and Resident Evil 2 is nowhere to be found despite the fact that Sony released it for the PSN, while Wii Ware has been a huge disappointment, having precious few quality products in its arsenal.
Sony’s PSN doesn’t have many classics consoles in its store, only PS One games, great titles like Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX, Resident Evil 2 and Metal Gear Solid and all the other classic PS One games getting a release date as well, but have also recently added Sonic Adventure from the Sega Dreamcast, hinting the possibility that PS3 owners might have the Dreamcast games soon enough. Sony’s patience over the last 4 years might finally pay off handsomely.
That doesn’t mean that Nintendo should panic, the big N has always knew how to respond, Nintendo announcing the 3DS is one smart way to counter the PS Move. The demand for the 3DS is already overwhelming, the console looks ready to be the leader for the new generation of the hand-held consoles despite the iPhone 4 and the imminent announcement of the PSP2, Nintendo’s 3DS is powerful enough and has enough quality titles to lead the hand-held market with ease, some PS2 titles are already being ported and updated for the 3DS, such as Metal Gear Solid 3 and Kingdom Hearts , current games on the HD consoles such as Resident Evil and Street Fighter 4, and some N64 titles are getting 3D updates for the 3DS such as Ocarina of Time and Star Fox 64, and Nintendo seems to be focusing on the hand-held market for the upcoming months.
Nintendo’s strategy is ensuring that their profits will not decline anytime soon, but for them to remain leaders in the console market, they need to unveil a new console quite soon, the Wii does not have the longevity of the PS3 and X360 now that both consoles have added new motion controls, they must release a new console with great online support and HD graphics. That way quality games such as Modern Warfare and Resident Evil will be released on the console along with the PS3 and Xbox360.
Nintendo’s console dominance is already at a decline, but for Nintendo to regain its domination in the console market, one thing is certain.
Nintendo’s next console can’t come soon enough.