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Old 03-20-2007, 09:42 AM   #103
Drunken Savior
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Gamer's State of the Union 2007

2006 saw the release of both the Wii and the Playstation 3, the next-generation offerings by Nintendo and Sony, respectively. The Wii and the Playstation 3 (PS3) will join Microsoft's Xbox 360 to complete the roster for the next-generation console wars, now a billion dollar industry.

Microsoft's Xbox 360

Many folks looked at this console negatively, most in part because they thought Microsoft was rushing the next generation. The Xbox 360 has seen a very solid 2006, reaching roughly 10 million consoles sold. Games such as Gears of War, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas helped ring in roughly 4.5 million new Xbox 360 owners.

As of now, it seems that people are looking toward the Xbox 360 as their choice for traditional game pad gaming, the style of gaming they all grew up with. And with Halo 3 and Grand Theft Auto 3 right around the corner, it looks like the Xbox360 is going to have another solid year. After all, Microsoft has a solid user base and they haven't unveiled their trump card, Halo 3, yet. Scary. It'll be an interesting 2007 for sure!

So was Microsoft and company right in launching the Xbox 360 in 2005? Well, why knows? It's a moot point. Was Microsoft smart in being first? Looks like it. It doesn't appear that Microsoft is in direct competition with their biggest (at this moment) competitor, Nintendo, as they both saw a healthy 2006 each with a large, yet separate, library of games that gamers can enjoy.

XBox 360's biggest card is their solid online capability. Microsoft was somewhat laughed at for having the Xbox Live set up last generation, but now both Sony and Nintendo are struggling to catch up to Microsoft's XBox Live, which has only gotten stronger. Gamers wanted to go online, and Microsoft is reaping the benefits.

Sony's Playstation 3

This war was Sony's to lose. The Playstation 2 saw dominance like none other. Anyone who thinks Sony didn't win the last war is in denial, pure and simple. They sold twice as many PS2s as Nintendo and Microsoft sold Gamecube's and Xboxes --combined. With a super solid library of exclusives (Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy Series, Kingdom Hearts, Metal Gear Solid, Grand Theft Auto....and that's just the tip of the iceberg!), the PS2 just blew away the competition.

Sony launched their new console with a myriad of problems. There were a few technical problems, but the majority of the problems rested with one issue: the price. $600 for the console. Many gamers to this day want a Playstation 3, but they simply can not justify the sheer amount of coin to spend on a console that really doesn't have a solid library yet. The Playstation 3 might host the best graphics, but that isn't enough. It's about the games and right now, Sony needs them bad. It is noteworthy that Sony has not yet played their trump card, the Final Fantasy Series, yet. I feel it is premature to judge them until that happens, as more people will be tempted to get a PS3 for Final Fantasy once they can either a) afford it or, b) see the PS3 hit a price drop once Sony finds out how to refine its hardware.

It is noteworthy to mention Blu-Ray. Sony is currently engaged in two wars: The Console Wars and the new Movie Media Wars between their media, Blu-Ray, and the rival media, HD-DVD. Blu-Ray truly is a double-edged sword for Sony. Since they are one of the biggest benefactors to Blu-Ray winning, they are hoping the PS3 will allow them to put Blu-Ray players in the hands of many people. As it stands, the PS3 is a super sweet deal...for a Blu-Ray player that also happens to play games. But that benefits tech heads, not us gamers. The technology is new, and therefore very expensive, as shown by the PS3's price. But if Blu-Ray is shown to be the winner of the winner, expect more Blu-Ray pressing factories to open up (since there is less risk once a winner is chosen) and the technology cost to drop dramatically. Expect a Playstation 3 price drop then. Hopefully it's not the first, as I don't see an end to the media wars until about 3rd quarter 2008-2nd quarter 2009. Let the folks see HD enough times to a) warrant purchasing a HD TV and; b) the price of HD TVs to drop (they are dropping pretty damn fast!).

Nintendo's Wii

Nintendo really was in a pickle. They went from the face of the industry to being not much more than a backup for gaming. They had to even compete against Microsoft, the rookie of the console wars. This is not how an industry leader is supposed to be. The Nintendo 64 was a failure in the sense that they essentially handed Sony the war. And the Gamecube failed to put Nintendo back on top, dispite having a solid outing (Super Smash Bros Melee, Metroid Prime, Resident Evil 4).

Nintendo launched their Wii by playing their trump card: A realistic version of The Legend of Zelda, called The Twilight Princess. Smart move. It gave gamers a reason to have a console at launch, something Nintendo can do that Microsoft and Sony can not, as they do not make games that sell consoles. And with Metroid Prime 3, Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Brawl, and Pokemon on the horizon. Gamers can expect a lot of good gaming on their Wii.

But will Nintendo's old ghosts haunt them? Their strongest card are all Nintendo games, and 3rd parties are reluctant to play on Nintendo's home turf last time, fearing that Nintendo games will drown out their games, leaving them to pick up the scraps. But that was when Nintendo didn't hold much of a user base in comparison to the PS2 and Xbox. But the Wii has roughly half the user base of the XBox 360, in a fraction of the time. If Nintendo keeps this pace up, there will be more than enough of our money for Nintendo and 3rd parties. It doesn't seem that the Wii's graphics (which are already looking really dated) are driving away people who are intrigued by this new way to play games.

It's just a shame that Bob Ross painting game never came to light...

Games I'm hyped for
The Last of Us Part 2, RE2 Remake, The Last Night

Current Platforms:
PC (Zen9 5950x, 64GB, RTX 3090), PS5
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