Since last E3 convention in L.A, this has been the hottest topic perhaps in the whole of social internet. Now I’ve been a part of many of them,I’ve analyzed hundreds of opinions, all varying by indescribable lengths.
Well, here’s my interpretation of what the market share will hold, in say, by 2012.
We’ll go back to the PS1 vs N64 vs Dreamcast era.
N64 was the most powerful machine. It had the best Party games (Thank Ninty). Zelda franchise took its prime on the machine, Mario came out from the classic 2D side scrolling shell to a new, fresh 3D transformed world. Simply put, N64 had almost everything, except one property they lacked most – third Party Support. I’ll highlight this later.
Now the PlayStation 1, Sony debuted its first console into the market, with a technology which was rejected by Nintendo in late 80s. The PS1 was an inferior machine compared to N64 (64-bit compared to 32-bit) – But one thing in it favored most of the game developers, The Media.
Designing games for storage on Compact Disk, was fairly easy compared to N64’s very limited cartridge chips – Not only were they expensive to develop on, one would have to cut a lot size from the games to so they could fit it in.
In CD, that wasn’t the case. The space was abundant.
Now onto The Sega Dreamcast, Sega, at this time was at a very desperate position. All its previous consoles, had failed in the market. They were diving in huge amount of losses. Sega Dreamcast, was intended their last shot at the console gaming market-And rest put short, they gave it everything they had.
Dreamcast – Undoubtedly surpassed PS1 and N64 in almost all ways :
1. Revolutionized the graphics, from 64-bit to 128.
2. First Console to feature Online capabilities.
3. Till this day, its Memory Card which was called the Visual Memory Unit – Remains State Of The Art.
4. Had genre defining games, like Shenmue.
5. Used CD’s as media.
6. Till this day, its the only console capable of surfing the internet.
7. Did I mention the VMU?
Now onto the Market : Nintendo, was predominant in the console market. For nearly more than a decade, it had next to zero competitors in the market. What Microsoft is now to Computers, 10x that and you have Nintendo for gaming in the 80s.
N64 was its first bump in the head for Nintendo. PS1, gained market share like crazy. Dreamcast, didn’t have any luck at all, and died in the battlefield.
Nintendo’s figures were crushed, and people now recognized Sony now the leading Co. in Console Market.
What we gather : Sony won, despite the fact it was the most inferior in graphics section. The biggest reason what researches even claim is that it won because of immense, and super third Party support. Games of all kinds, were spilling on it. PS1 spelled variety – Nintendo spelled Conservative, And thus, this console led to Nintendo’s image now being visualized as ‘Kiddy’. Fans turned their back on the big N, and said they only recycled kiddy franchises, one which involved an Italian plumber (Mario), and Robin Hood in his childhood (The Legend Of Zelda).
And the reason for Dreamcast’s failure, was it entered the market too late. Sega could’ve won, in my opinion, even from Sony, but by the time they entered the market, Sony started all sorts of rumor for an even Super Console, the successor to the PS1 – The PlayStation 2.
This led people into avoiding the Dreamcast and instead wait it out with PS1.
Welcome the Current Era, Sony’s PS2 vs Nintendo’s Gamecube vs Micro$oft Xbox
Sega died out with Dreamcast, they fell into bankruptcy, rested the Dreamcast, and took its place back now being just a game developer for the leading consoles in the market.
The PlayStation 2 created all sorts of ‘Sold Out’ records in Guinness at its launch. People were so eager on getting their hands on one – They camped in front of the stores a day before the official release of the console.
PS2 was the first next-gen console in the market, Nintendo followed the tradition and released the successor to N64 – The Gamecube. And Microsoft was a newcomer, heck, they didn’t even care if they won or lost, Gates has the PC division of M$ to cover up for the losses if there is one to encounter.
The PlayStation 2 : People claim nowadays, that Sony hyped the console way more than what they could actually deliver. The ‘Emotion Engine’ was touted an almost mystical powerup to the words ‘Game Processing’. In any case, people at the time were still impressed plenty nonetheless. PS2 sold and was proved successful right on the launch night.
The PS2 had all the third Party support behind its back, in fact it even broadened with the PS2. In brought a new media to the console, DVD format, now which could hold more than 5x the data a regular CD could.
Keep in note, even the PS2 was the inferior most when it came to graphics compared to in the trio.
Nintendo Gamecube : The Gamecube, was more or less like the N64. It didn’t have any luck due to the same reasons. Nintendo even came out saying ‘People don’t need Online’, and thus, hardly any online enabled game was ever developed for the Gamecube, even though Gamecube was pretty capable of online. The media was too a new one, MiniDVD. Almost uncrackable, that means no losses in piracy. But this meant the Gamecube could not play regular DVD’s/CD’s, and that meant no movie/audio support.
Gamecube was just that – A machine in the shape of Cube meant for ONLY handling games.
Microsoft Xbox : Which was almost a carbon copy of PS2, but only stronger in processing. It failed in Japan due to lack of many Japanese RPGs, but it still did fairly good in North America. It finished second to PS2. Gamecube behind it.
Sony dominated with 60% of market share.
The market : It was nearly the repeat of last genre. PS2 lead all the way with the PS2, Microsoft was a newcomer, and made it good, while Nintendo fell into more criticisms.
Despite PS2 being the inferior most in technical specs, people claimed it sold because of immense third Party support yet again. Though, as many people hate to admit it – It sold also because it had the ability of play DVD movies. Certain hackers exploited this ability of PS2 into playing burnt DivX movies as well.
PS2 in turn was considered THE all-rounder in rest, and No.1 in game library thanks to third Party again.
Welcome the Next Gen: The competitors are exactly the same as the last one. Its Sony vs M$ vs Nintendo again.
And from the looks of it, from what I gather from the polls and all, Nintendo is all set to regain its market share it lost with N64. Nintendo is coming out with what they call ‘Wii’.
The Nintendo ‘Wii’ isn’t next-gen, its NEW-gen.
That means it won’t follow the typical tradition of upping the specs of the console and release it as even more powerful machine, but by new they mean they entirely mean to change the way people play their games.
Sony, it taking the new step, and making the PS3 the most powerful ever. For the first time, this generation, Sony won’t be with a console in the market that will be the inferior most in graphics – In fact, THE most powerful.
Sony has partnered with Blu-Ray division. The successor to DVD’s. Also hinted at being ‘Region-Free’ coming to games.
Microsoft is already out there with its X360 with almost a year now. Its still holding its position at the medium between PS3 and Wii for time be
ing. The console will be getting its games on DVD only, and it will get an add-on upgrade which will also allow it to play HD-DVD disks. HD-DVD is also the successor to DVD’s, and the sole competitor of Blu-Ray.
Conclusion : Its tuff to say, but from what I gather, Nintendo has found the lucky break with Wii. They WILL and I repeat, WILL gain more market with Wii.
As for PS3 and Xbox – In my opinion, depends upon the library and HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray – Which in turn depends on the non-gaming crowd. What will they choose for watching movies?
PS3 does make a good deal for a combo deal. Blu Ray player (standalones currently are selling for nearly $1000), plus a top-notch gaming hardware – All for $600? How can people call this ‘overpriced’ ?
In the gaming terms alone – Yes it IS overpriced. But to the general overall look – Its greatly underpriced.
And you know who decides the winner? The general ‘overall’ crowd, not hardcore-gamers.
So people all over the forums can claim all they want to, about PS3 not selling much due to it being ‘overpriced’, but if my predictions are right, PS3 will not do as much as they claim. It will lose market to Nintendo that’s almost a given now, but it will hold its own, and will do well enough to turn in profits and guarantee a PS4 next-gen.
Now for the final conclusion : PS3 has third party support, but its losing from what they had on PS2. It has a next-gen media, the most powerful in terms of data storage. To top it all of, It has this one killer title releasing on it : Metal Gear Solid 4. Now to the uninitiated, Metal Gear franchise is the one to be reckoned with. The franchise is there in gaming for nearly 15 years now. And there are more than a given 10 million fans who will do anything to get their hands on an MGS title. THIS, ladies and gentlemen – Is the saving grace and one of PS3 strong hopes – Metal Gear Solid 4.
Xbox department has its prime exclusives as well, such as Halo series. Its good, but not good and popular enough to the lengths of what Metal Gear is. I don’t even think many people would recognize the franchise as ‘killer title’ for the console.
Compared to the last two eras :
PS3 vs Wii – Anyone could finish top.
X360 – This will do good, but just not as good as those two above.
Right now, we’re only two months away from the release of both PS3 and Wii. We’ll get an answer soon as to who is the clear winner by 4 years from now.
(This has been a presentation of yours truly, but feel free to use it to support your debates on the subject)