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Lame Discussion: Console War – Part 1

posted on July 19th, 2006 by jay

Kudos on joining us for our second discussion. Well, actually you’re not joining us because it’s already over and you weren’t invited. But thanks for reading. The format may look a little confusing but shouldn’t be too hard to grasp for anyone who has ever held a conversation (which may not be all of you, I know gaming is a harsh mistress).

The contenders:
Dan – Really just wants to talk about the Wii.
Christian – Is slightly upset with Sony.
Golden Jew – May be secretly working for Sony.
Jay – Forces others complex arguments into black and white.
Pat – Will never make it through a whole discussion.
Stefan – Is planning to buy his first new console since the Dreamcast.
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Jay: In this coming generation of consoles, who will sell the most systems? Who will have their ass handed to them?

Jay welcomes the group.

Golden Jew: I’ve long predicted that this next generation would be viewed as a turning point for gaming. However, it’s starting to be more diverse and covering more topics than I initially expected. First, we have the question — can Sony really flourish at such a high price point? And if so, what does that mean for the rest of the industry? Second — Can Nintendo totally change the ways games are played, literally, with the controllers? And third — with such a diverse set of console offerings, will we see PC games rise as they become more cost effective as platforms?

Stefan: Honestly, in my mind the PS3 being priced so high almost makes it seem like it’s catering to children. Children of fairly wealthy families, but children. Because, at least in the US, all the 20’s-30’s non-hardcore gamers I know who still spend tons of money on plasma screens and don’t really care how much their systems cost have all been hooked on Xbox. Microsoft did a good job of expanding the market of older US gamers, and I’m not sure the PS3 is going to be able to challenge that market in the coming generation.: Which leaves the less gadget-oriented casual gamers, who won’t spend $600, and kids. And that concludes my drastically oversimplified and myopic marketing analysis.

Jay: It also leaves the Japanophiles, but I think they may go with a Wii if it’s $400 cheaper.

Stefan: Yeah, and at this point the Wii is more Japanese in its strangeness.

Dan: I think the Wii has a certain amount of “American-ness” to it, as shown by its gigantic balls.

Jay: I am convinced Sony came to the design of the PS3 by a department other than their games department. Sony as a whole said, “We need the Blu Ray to be the next standard, how can we do this? You there, games division, you will make it so.” And now they are in an absurd position: they need the system to sell well to make Blu Ray succeed, but the Blu Ray player costs so much they can’t sell the PS3 cheap enough to make them sell well.

At least it has a super freakin’ awesome logo.

Stefan: If the Blu-Ray succeeds, though, it changes what I was talking about above, since suddenly people will be buying it as a media center, and then happening to play games on it rather than buying another console.

Jay: I doubt it will succeed without the PS3 being the reason it succeeds, though.

Golden Jew: Well, Sony has the sort of balls though to create a Blu Ray/PS3 gambit… the question is are they smarter than we think, or suffering from idiot groupthink?

Dan: I don’t think people are going to dish out 600 to get an expensive DVD player. We aren’t talking about the VHS in the 80’s.

Stefan: Even in the 80’s they didn’t dish out $600 or equivalent…that’s why Sony’s format died.

Jay: What are the ramifications if the PS3 sells well? Will all new systems go for $500 or more?

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6 Comments

  1. Staticneuron said on July 19, 2006:

    Awesome debate! My two cents on this… as of now I can see no clear winner. I am going to get all three systems yet I am worried about the lack of genre’s on the 360, the possible lack of mature games on the Wii, and the impact of the Production of the PS3 games will have on the Devs.

    But this case might be cut and dry if this whole issue becomes a repeat of the last generation. It has signs of showing that it might, with the exception of the 360 getting better games. But all in all if the PS3 gets to it’s second generation, which I am sure it will, and then finally delivers, the average joe just might buy into the PS3 if he is given a good enough reason… or a few.

    I know alot of casual gamers, talk to them in video game stores, at arcades, in the line at the grocery, i… you get the point right?; after being told the price of the PS3 peoples eyes gloss over but most that I have talked to still say they want to get one. A smaller crowd actually asked why… was satisfied with the answer and continued to speculate about the games. On the internet I see really angry statements and proclomations that joe schmo wont buy the PS3 for the price but in the real world I get different answers. In the real world I see people that purchase 250k cars and spinners that go for 4K each. I have seen purses and dresses that cost between 800 and 1200 hanging off of females that aren’t allowed to vote yet. I see the guys that purchase $200 shades and go to resturants that charge you $120 dollars for “one” shrimp on a slice of lettuce.

    I see this stuff every day and yet I come on the internet and see how cost conscientious joe shmoe or the average gamer will be and I laugh. The truth is that alot of people are going to be irked at this pricing but if given enough reason they will either spend the money or Save to get one. Its funny I don’t see a word about “saving” money when the majority of systems I bought in my life I saved to get. It is all about value. For some people all it takes is the sony brand. For people like me… I buy into potential. Then there are those who need concrete proof. And then there are those that either don’t care and/or downright hate. Maybe the PS3 will flop… no biggie to me as long as I can get some enjoyment out of the system, but there is a very good chance that it could become the beast that sony is hoping it to become.

  2. jay said on July 19, 2006:

    The problem with buying into potential is that every console has potential. Potential is entirely dependant on what developers make. In 1993 developers could’ve made better looking and more complex games on the Jaguar than the SNES but they didn’t. The Jaguar still had the potential, though. Just like this generation the Xbox had the potential to do everything the PS2 did. My point is I’m unwilling to spend money for games that may come out because those games can come out on anything. I am willing to spend money once games I do want have already come out, though, which is going to be a problem when the PS3 puts out enough that I want. The system costs more than a months rent for me. I can save, but that still stings enough to make me resentful.

  3. Staticneuron said on July 20, 2006:

    I agrre with you on the sting of price… but I guess we have different opinions about what potential is. To me its not about what the developers make but it is more along the lines that there “are” developers. That first step has been important to me since I was 12. If you use that frame of thinking, how many systems that had potential were utter failures?

  4. Christian said on July 21, 2006:

    The interesting thing is, Static is right about these average people on the street. Those kind of people he’s talking about probably aren’t all uber rich and well to do. Lots of people spend way out of their income bracket in order to appear more affluent than they are. They’re willing to put down excessive amounts of cash for the “bling”, especially if its mom and dad paying the bill. Hell, even I can confess to falling into the trap. I have a chance to save a great deal of money for senior year of college this summer thanks to my job, and yet I want to get back their with a brand new suit, a DS Lite, a Camera, a new hat… the list goes on. Thankfully I’ll control myself and budget my money, but that urge is hard to shake.

    $600 for the PS3? I can imagine quite a few junior high students for which that is no sweat if they complain enough to their folks. Yes, many, many gamers are and will be burned by the PS3 price, but I really have to wonder if for every guy that is, there’s someone else wtih a fistful of cash and an urge to play Tekken.

  5. Staticneuron said on July 23, 2006:

    HAHA! Christian we are alike in spending habits. I make sure all my bills and dues are paid but I find it hard not to burn the extra cash I have lying around.

  6. pat said on July 30, 2009:

    For the record:

    Pat: I’m about ready to drink Nintendo’s Kool Aid. Meteos for the DS is like a drug. I consider myself fairly hardcore and I can’t get enough. Then I take it to people who have never/almost never played anything (sisters, other girls) and they can’t get enough. Some of it is because puzzle games appeal to more people, but it’s also the accessible controls. And the Wii has accessible controls in spades.

    Jay: Sony is full of crap because game designers make systems worth owning or not, not console manufacturers. The PS3 is very similar to the 360, but one pushes a few more polygons. The PS3 is not gourmet, it’s nearly the same thing as the 360 and the games will make or break it.

    Pachter (2005): “In 2010, Sony’s going to have 55 per cent, Microsoft’s going to have 35 per cent and Nintendo 10 per cent, with all three of those having plus or minus five per cent,”

    Piers Harding Rolls (from Screen Digest, in Dec 2007, paraphrased): by 2011, the PlayStation 3 will not only have surpassed the Xbox 360, but will have caught up with the wildly popular Wii’s worldwide install base.

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