Last Thursday, just before the release of Sony's Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii, I was gearing up to prognosticate the "winner". I wrote a few paragraphs, then promptly quit. I was creeping toward genuine analysis, and when I realized going further would require some basic groundrules, or even (*gasp*) a little research, I headed for the exit.
I could not, for the life of me, see the appeal of the new Playstation, and simply assumed this was true across the board. I've always maintained that "realistic" graphics do not make for better games, and that the game industry has, with precious exception, become moribund and unimaginative. Any console focussing on graphics and sound was focussing on bells and whistles, and fated to limited success. Because Nintendo seemed to be pushing its console just outside the envelope, while Microsoft and Sony were keeping their's tucked safely in its folds, I picked Nintendo as the winner.
It's still too early to declare a fast winner, but my instincts re: Sony were a tad off the mark. The first round of PS3s disappeared like so many Tickle Me Elmos, and it's likely to sell in decent numbers until Microsoft releases its next generation of xBox. When I asked my 18-year-old nephew about this consumer response, he acknowledged the craziness of it all. He figured his current PC could be upgraded to PS3 status with less than $300 worth of new hardware, while the PS3 pricetag is nearly $800 before taxes. Still, he had to admit his first instinct was to line up with his buddies and shell out the extra bucks.
That urge is not altogether foreign to me. But when it comes to spending money on digital entertainment, I'll sit out the "wars" and wait for a clear winner -- or, more likely, reluctantly choose a platform that appeals to my current life parameters. I'm too old and too happily married and much too pleased with family life to waste time charting possible trends in the wi-fi world. Based on this, this and this, it's possible Nintendo will score a little more cash from our family budget in the next few years.
Or maybe it's just a matter of which customer line I'd prefer to join (cartoon link from the bro).