Saturday, March 29, 2008

Console Wars

As you may or may not know, there is a war going on amoungst consoles, as there has been for several decades, which is fought over and over again for domination in the market. It is an unpredictable war, and while one company, like Sega, might be dominant for one generation, the next one they might cease to exist after some incredibly bad commercial decisions.

The biggest upturn of this generation is the wii, which is actually not that exceptional a console, but has several things going for it

-it's the cheapest option. For a while this margin was massive in terms of price differentials
-It has a neat gimmick with the wiimote and motion sensing. The technology to do this was not remarkably new, but the execution was much better
-They marketed to a whole new audience.

The last one was key, and more key than other companies really cottoned on to. By targeting non-traditional gamers the Wii has proved to be absurdly succesful, but one could argue that it has not necessarily stolen the market share that the xbox and the ps3 were looking for- instead it has found a new and possibly better one.

It's worth noting that the so called "attach rate" for the wii is rather poor- a lot of people buy a wii but don't buy any games other than those that come with the console. This is not helped by a lot of developers not really knowing what to do with the console, so a lack of really good games has been annoying to those of us who are actually gamers....

Thus far decent games for the Wii, as far as I see it, have been Zelda, Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime, Resident evil 4, Super Smash Bros Brawl and possibly No More Heroes. The others are all tacky mini-game fests which get a bit old after ten minutes of playing. Have one and then you don't need anymore really....

Ultimately the crushing success of the Wii might actually be bad for those who consider themselves gamers, because developers are beginning to notice that the casual market is hugely succesful. Things like peggle and that jewel game I've temporarily forgotten the name of have proved very succesful on the pc, which also provides an excellent method of distribution via the internet, something the consoles lack. I hope this won't discourage developers from still creating proper games, and instead merely broadens the amount of games out there for people to play.

The x-box 360 and ps3 have ended up competing for the so called "hardcore" market by themselves, and thus far the xbox has done rather better, probably because it has been out for much longer, and the ps3 costs 100 pounds more. If you look at the trend of the last few generations, it is rarely the most powerful machine that is the most succesful. Instead it will be the cheapest and easiest to develop for, while not sacrificing too much graphical power.

A lot of games these days are developed cross consoles. After all, if a developer wants to make the most money it seems in their interest to have the largest possible market to appeal to, so exclusive games for a console are getting fewer and further between. They still exist- Final fantasy and metal gear solid will be coming out exclusively for the ps3, but most games are now on both. This means that unless someone really wants an exclusive game, they can compare how these games look on each console and pick. Most games look fairly similar between the xbox 360 and the ps3, and there have been some rather surprising reports of games taking much longer to load on the ps3, possibly because people don't know how to program for it.

So, X-box 360 seems to be the best choice, it's certainly the one i'm making. Sadly, of course, that means throwing my lot in with microsoft, but lets face it, sony are hardly a lovely corporation that pet bunnies and... do whatever else a lovely corporation might do, if such a thing existed....



At 11:24 pm, Blogger Kirbie said...

I just got no more heroes.
At first I thought it was a bit crap, but the 8th and 7th ranked battles are awesome! It's actually pretty fun and while the motion sensing is not perfect it does give you a sense of satisfaction.
BTW Destroyman = Damaramu


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