Microsoft released the XBOX 360 console in the US and Japan for the christmas holidays of 2005, later releasing the consol here in Australia 3 months later on March 2nd, 2006. With the entry of Microsoft’s next-gen console into the the marketplace and in the hands of cunning gamers, the video game industry has switched gears from the previous generation (Playstation 2, Gamecube, XBOX) into a whole new domain, both technically and as far as marketing is concerned.
The XBOX 360 has been out for around 6 months (give or take) now and has firmly set itself up for a great haul this gen, beating arch rivals Nintendo and Sony out of the gate. This huge jump on the competition can only be good for Microsoft, who did wow audiences last generation with their very first console the XBOX to hit stores. I believe microsoft have learned a great deal from the past with Sony (their biggest competitor) getting their console out first, and inveitably winning the generation based on console popularity.
When Sony’s Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii release closer to the end of this year (november & october respectively), the XBOX 360 will have had just about an entire year head start. We will see if this head start really makes a difference when popularity comes into the equation.
Out of the 3 next generation contenders, the Sony Playstation 3 will be the most expensive with its base version expected to retail for around AUD$800~ (i think) and the ‘platinum’ pack for just over AUD$1,000~. The Nintendo Wii is expected to blow its rivals out of the water as far as pricepoint is concerned expected to retail for around AUD$350~. Why is the Wii so much cheaper than the PS3 or 360 you ask?
Well, there have been many people asking whether the Wii is a true next-gen console. While it is releasing with the PS3 under the guise of ‘next-gen’, the hardware specs don’t even come close to matching the raw power of the PS3 or 360. The counter argument then is well, there is no HD support on the Wii, and the CPU is roughly 3x slower than its competition but Nintendo have always been known for their innovation and creativity and they have definately delieverd on that. If you have seen the new Nintendo Wii controller, it is really something. I have watched countless E3 tech demos of various titles for the Wii and it really looks like the idea of the controller works. I’ll just have to see it in person when it launches in October.
I remember last generation when the Playstation 2 was the first console to release (sorry Sega, the dreamcast doesn’t cut it) for the new generation and there definately was some hype, but definately nowhere near as much as there is right now.
Whenever a new console comes out in any generation, marketing of that console and getting it out there and known amonst the public has always been a challenge, but something that really needs to be done. Last gen Sega failed to do this and look what happened to them. Right now, 6 months before either Nintendo’s or Sony’s new consoles release, there are already advertisements on television, print media and of course the internet.
This new generation is proving to be the biggest yet and will be interesting to see exactly how good each of these new consoles will be. I myself was really into getting a PS3, but not exactly sure right now with the huge pricepoint it is expected to sell for. You could pick up an XBOX 360 and a Wii for the same price as a PS3. It will be hard to justify forking out $1,000 for a PS3 when all the titles for at least the first year will be cross-platform titles anyway, with the bulk of the really good exclusives (Gran Turismo & Metal Gear Solid 4 just to name a few) at least another year after that.
Besides, XBOX 360 right now has a few games im interested in such as Fight Night Round 3 and soon to come Gears of War which looks amazing. Knowing me, i’ll be getting a 360 and quite possibly a Wii.
As a loyal Sony fan for many years, it is my time to say goodbye to the Playstation. It appears they are trying to aim for something and develop a console the masses just won’t be looking for. For quick fun and awesome gameplay, go get yourself a Wii and for the nice pretty graphics and im sure some AAA games, go for a 360. You won’t be sorry.
Just my opinion anyway on this next gen, figured i’d do something different for a change and write an opinion piece, that’s what blogging is all about right!