Wednesday, December 06, 2006

PS3: The Unready; Wii: the Impressive; XBOX 360: the Entrenched

My comments are in green. The source articles are linked below - I strongly recommend reading each fully, as Mr. Bramwell is articulate and insightful.

Part one: the PS3
Part two: the Wii and the XBOX 360
By Tom Bramwell, deputy editor of

From Part One...
What I've discovered since I've had both consoles [Wii, PS3], though, is quite interesting. In a nutshell, Sony's new PlayStation isn't finished, and Nintendo's Wii isn't just a fascinating prospect - it's already impressive."

The write-up of the PS3 tells me much of what I expect: The PS3 is unready, unfinished and slap-shodded together (that's shoeing horses in a poor manner). From its menu system to its online abilities to the games available and the SixAxis controller.

From Part Two...
"...Sony's biggest problem at the moment is that it's lost the PR battle so comprehensively it can seldom open its mouth to do anything other than change foot."

Based on Sony's failure to match any release estimate, and a host full of other things they've said that haven't panned out. This made me laugh.

"Nintendo's is the "better" of the two launches in virtually every respect, with Sony's an unfinished symphony, but both companies' successes in the next five years will be determined by factors inconceivable in November 2006."

This speaks the truth. Not only does the Wii's success balance on 3rd party support, timing and innovation of the games delivered matter equally. If 3rd party developers do nothing but repackage old games and deliver them up with Wiimote & Nunchuck controls, it might float the Wii but it won't be realizing its potential. Making games that, like those on the dual-screened NDS, are created from the ground up to utilize the controls is what will make the Wii what it was meant to be. Failure to deliver either of these options in a timely fashion could stunt the Wii's growth, never to recover.

While some miracle might help Sony, I'd place no bets and not stock with that.

"Huge industry figures like EA's Larry Probst consistently pour praise and a demand to keep faith on the PS3, whilst complimenting the Wii's imaginative approach and saluting Microsoft's endeavors - but this is more than just hedging bets, it's a long-view that incorporates a lot of difficult variables."

Larry Probst, like many EA reps, is an out-right liar. Expect EA's real truth to be hidden behind their actions. EA has bought a development company and made it their Wii development branch. The amount of games they release for the PS3 and Wii is what will really indicate their beliefs - which could boil down to "I hope we don't lose much money" or be as grandiose as "Lets cash in before other people jump on the bandwagon." My bets are EA's a dollar gripping Scrooge.

That said, lack of EA support has spelled death for consoles in the past (Dreamcast), so the fact that they are developing for the Wii and PS3 is good news.

"How will the expensive PS3 do in the southern regions of Europe where PS2's low price has endeared it, but even the Core System model of the Xbox 360 has struggled? Will Nintendo's fashionable new manifesto for gaming translate to genuine third-party growth and shared commercial success, or will this be another Nintendo console that - for all its progressive tendencies - lives or dies by the games that come out of Kyoto? And will Microsoft's advertising blitzkrieg and successive exclusive winters prove as significant as the Redmond giant imagines?

None of these questions can be answered yet. But in this writer's estimation, what we can say now is that while some things may have changed, most things are still the same. Microsoft is as loud and imposing as ever. Nintendo is convincingly in control of and capable of expanding its own business, but not necessarily anyone else's. And although Sony has been weakened by its own hubris, it's still impossible to write off the PS3 until we've seen what it really has to offer."

The Wii has already succeeded at its purpose: to bring about a small videogame revolution. Gone are the days of archaic gamepads and with it, ignoring the casual gamer. Whether Microsoft slams Nintendo with it's own answer to N's big innovation in 5 years remains to be seen, but I'd find likely.

The PS3, on the other hand, seems set up to fail. I only hope that Blu-Ray wins over HD, not because I want either, but because the former is the better standard overall.

"In other words, the events of the last few weeks may have huge consequences, but it won't be until the next few months have passed that the picture will become in any way clear."

As far as "who wins" or "who makes money" this is true.

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