I will be the first to admit that I am a Apple and Nintendo hack. From the first time I used an Apple to do layout and photo work, I knew this was the computer from me. Since the good old days of NES, I have never owned anything but a Nintendo gaming system (although I never progressed past the N64).
While Sony has continually thrived on being bigger and flasher, Nintendo has been the one leading the way through innovation. Sony grabs the headlines with the risque, mature video games. Nintendo develops better game play.
Sony may have bet too much on their dominance in the gaming market. They thought they could use the release of the PS3 to force Blu-Ray technology on the masses, gaining the upperhand in the next generation DVD wars, while continuing to move ahead in the console wars. They may have lost both.
The PS3 must beat out the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii this Christmas and it already has drawbacks compared with the other two. Many of those who actually got a PS3 have encountered numerous bugs, issues with it working on specific HDTV’s and just a general let down after all the hype.
The Xbox 360 has been around longer and has more games out, with the same next generation graphics that Sony boasts in the PS3. Xbox also has a more popular online gaming community with Xbox live.
The Wii also has more games out. The graphics on it do not push the envelope as much so game developers can produce games quicker and cheaper. The Wii has the innovative controller system (Wiimote), which gives gamers a completely new feel to the gaming experience. Plus, the Wii has the Nintendo name, which still means a lot for those of us in our mid-twenties who grew up on the NES and SNES. Along with the Nintendo names comes the Nintendo characters – Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon. With the ability to purchase old games on the virtual console, the Wii may grab a huge market share and take over first place.
What is going to hinder the PS3 the most is the cost. The Xbox is somewhat cheaper, while the Wii is less than half the cost. What hurts Sony even more is that even with the outrageous price tag, they are still losing money on every PS3 sold. In the end, the PS3 may mark the decline of Sony in the gaming field and may cost the company billions if Blu-Ray becomes the next Betamax, despite their work to manipulate the market.
Speaking of innovation versus market manipulation, its always good to see Apple handing it to Microsoft in at least one way. The Windows giant lauched yet another buggy piece of technology called Zune, which was dubbed “The iPod killer.” What Microsoft actually produced was what they have a tendency of producing – a bug infested, overly complicated, Apple rip-off.
The Zune looks like the iPod, but with a bigger screen, so just on apperances Microsoft improves on what Apple has done. But then we get to the actually interface. For some unknown reason, Microsoft sets up some insane points system where 79 points equals $0.99. They are not even compatible with Microsoft Vista (the new OS) and Media Player. Above everything else, it just lacks the “it” factor that turned iPod into the market brand.
While sales were up at the launch date, over the Thanksgiving break the Zune slipped off the radar. On Cyber Monday (the biggest day for online sales), seven of the top ten electronic items on Amazon.com’s best selling list were digital media players – six were iPods, none were Zunes (the top ranked one came in at #76).
Industry analysts said that the Zune was “unattractive” to consumers. It was on the shelf with the other players and “it just didn’t compare.”
Being the poor father of two that I am, I don’t own any next generation gaming system or any digital media player, but I know which ones I want. Give me a Wii and let me and my family jump around the living room playing some of the cool sports games while listening to some music through a iPod dock. I’ll be happy.