Console Wars

Game console wars have probably never been as heated as this current generation. With every man and his dog owning a Wii, Microsoft have been trying all sorts of tactics to broaden their Xbox 360 demographic, Sony have been very honest and patient while still sticking by the claim that their PS3 will be a ’10 year console’ and it seems almost every console owner on the internet is doing the whole fanboy routine of attacking every console they don’t own while defending their own.

What is sad though is when the big companies themselves start acting all fanboyish. Microsoft have looked stupid numerous times by attacking the Wii with claims like it’s not for real or hardcore gamers and it’s not even a gaming console but rather a toy. But it’s not even those childish attacks that hurt them the most. It’s the fact that they are putting their competition down, rather than actually talking up their own product.

I think MS’s problem (not though they’re in a bad position at all) is that they don’t know what type of system they want their 360 to be promoted as. They started by aiming for the hardcore gamer and making it the ‘cool’ console to own with all of their nice Xbox Live (online service) features and with great choices such as Halo and Gears of War etc. Then (with various hits and misses in between) they took note of the huge success of the PS2 quiz and gameshow hit Buzz, but all they could come up with was Scene It and that flopped harder than a Sumo with a forward, double somersault pike into a pool with no water. So they tried again, this time with their version of another huge Sony PS2 game, Singstar. Not only did the title, ‘Lips’ miss the mark but so did the whole idea of it. Like Scene It, it has not sold well and it just goes to show that you can’t easily grab a new audience, especially when the audience you were aiming for had no idea you even existed and even moreso when they are already captivated by another franchise on a different platform. Seriously, did MS really expect the typical 360 gamer to put down his controller, stop killing aliens with Master Chief and pick up a microphone to start singing It’s Raining Men by Geri Halliwell?!

Another thing I found funny and sad at the same time was when Microsoft ditched their (I thought very nice looking and functional) ‘blade’ type 360 Dashboard for a Wii/Mii like ‘Avatar’ and 3D slides look. I’ll be blunt and say the Avatars were a complete Mii rip-off, with a touch of Sony’s Home application, an unoriginal attempt at…ummm… I don’t even know. I mean, what’s the point of having a cartoon version of yourself standing on your dashboard interface staring at you? At least the Mii’s are integrated into gameplay. 

Sony, on the other hand have been much more respectable, although definitely not without fault. They have almost always stayed out of the verbal war and are quick to focus on their own products. The PS3 not only hit the market a while after the 360 and had to play catchup, but even then has only really had solid sales, rather than consistent great figures. However, Sony have stayed confident with their ‘slow and steady’ wins the race type attitude and have had to fight a lot of critics.

Probably the two main criticisms of Sony and the PS3 are it’s price. I personally think the PS3 is great value, given that it’s a top blu-ray player, has a decent sized hard drive, built-in Wi-Fi, USB ports, Bluetooth, Web Browser, free PSN (Sony’s online service) access and more. BUT… as a game console, the (current AU) price of $699 is certainly a lot. The Wii and 360 are nearly half the price. I think a $100 price drop would catapult the sales like crazy. Sony have been somewhat professional and believable with their reasons and that counts for something but they are disrespecting a lot of gamers with such a high price and that can never be a good thing.

Another area where Sony have received a lot of criticism and fan based internet attacks is their constant delays. Games like Gran Turismo, Killzone 2, various PSN games and patches and their much hyped online ‘Sims’ type network Home were/have been hit with delay after delay and there is never an acceptable apology. Many sites started using the name ‘Delaystation’ things got so annoying. It’s true that quality is better than quantity and that the very best games are often the one’s with the longest development time but maybe Sony shouldn’t be so quick to make announcements and quote dates etc.

Finally on Sony, a company who has always done well with pleasing many types of gamers with many different genres, they too have recently gone on an attack of sorts on their competition, but this time I think they deserve a thumbs up and a laugh or two.

 “MS owns the office, Sony own the living room and Wii owns the closet”

Now that’s a quote to be proud of! I guess they are saying that MS is Windows and computers rather than games and the Wii is gathering dust in the closet after the gimmick wore off a lot of people.

Maybe the quote would have also made sense if it said “Nintendo owns people’s wallets” because they have certainly changed gaming in so many ways. They do deserve huge props for getting non-gamers into games for the first time and making gaming fun in a whole new way.

But, although it will sound biased, I think their comeback will be the last console (not handheld) success they have for a long time. I sold my Wii after it went untouched for months and many people I know have said the same. Nintendo have quickly ignored their actual gamer fans and even a lot of their longtime hardcore fans by filling the Wii with more junk than any console before it. Heaps of cheap ports with gimmicky motion controls, games with no more substance than a free web-based flash game, Wii Sports copycats and cash-ins and a severe lack of new franchises has the Wii struggling to keep the ‘usual’ or typical gamer happy. When you have consoles like the 360 and PS3 pushing more and more gorgeous and lifelike visuals in stunning high definition and your console has average at best graphic capabilities that would barely stack up against the previous generation of consoles, you better hope your gameplay is interesting and exciting… but the Wii is quickly falling from it’s (tremendously high) peak with those previously mentioned sorry excuses for games and I think the gamers are catching on. 

I think this years E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) will be the most important one in a long, long time.

MS don’t seem to have much left up their sleeve with the 360 so can they surprise people with something unexpected? An Xbox 720 or whatever the next version will be called can’t be announced this early can it?

Sony have said they have quite a few big announcements (rumours are already building for the second year in a row about a Wiimote tpye motion controller) and the recent and upcoming games list has been very strong so things are looking promising for gamers in that sense.

Nintendo must show a new Zelda game, a new version of a previous hit (Kid Icarus, Waverace, Mario RPG, Pilotwings) and a new character or franchise rather than pointless games like Animal Crossing (which was pretty much a port of the DS version, which was just a port of the Gamecube version, which was just a port of the N64 version… Nintendo at it’s very best) and the Gamecube Wiimakes.

May the best game win…nah that’s too obvious… how about, in the end as long as there is conflict it’s the actual gamer that wins… nah that’s too corny… I’ll just move on to the disclaimer.

Ok, I have owned a 360, Wii and still own a PS3.

I actually never suddenly disliked the 360 in terms of it’s games and overall fun but the fact that it died then got repaired, died again and got repaired and finally died again (all while scratching and wrecking the game discs inside it) made me give up on it and move on.

I did like the Wii initially. I played Wii Sports every morning and night for a couple months and thought Zelda was pretty special too but when it came down to it, there weren’t enough good games and that was backed up recently by a website who took all the average reviews of the 3 big consoles and reported that the Wii by a long margain, had the lowest overall game scores and least amount of 8/10 and 9/10 scored games.

I obviously sound biased towards PS3 but make no excuses. It does so much, does it well and also has the most potential for the future.

Game over.


One Response to Console Wars

  1. unknowntheartist says:

    I agree with you and think it’s good that you pointed out your dislikes of all consoles not just the ones you genuinely like. I don’t think you sound biassed at all. You tried different things and found the right one for you 🙂

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