Battle of the Consoles

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 12:00 PM

While there are three major players in the current generation of consoles it's hard to say that there has actually been a battle between the three. The price point of both the Wii and the PlayStation 3, for different reasons, has stopped this from happening. The Wii has always been so cheap that it has staved off competition from the others and the PlayStation 3 has been too expensive to enter into much competition with the others. All the while the 360 has sat somewhere in the middle, occasionally ruling the market whilst it was a two horse race between the 360 and PS3 and falling back a place when the Wii came and blew everyone away. Now, leading up to the 2009 holiday season we could actually see a legitimate battle between the three systems.

With the launch of the PlayStation Slim, with its revised price of $499 it has set itself up as a more affordable and viable package for those families and individuals who are looking to purchase their first console or add to their existing line-up. It boasts that extra quality, a Blu-Ray DVD player, which makes it an entertainment unit and a more justifiable expense. Sales in Japan have already proven the Slim's success with 150,000 sales in the first week besting the recorded sales in the week of the Playstation 3's release. Meanwhile Microsoft have launched another round of price cuts on their Xbox 360. Microsoft had three versions of their 360, the Arcade, Pro and Elite but will now only have the Arcade and the Elite with the Pro being phased out. From the 22nd of September an Xbox 360 Elite will cost you $449 and if you buy it from then until October 20th you get a free copy of Halo 3: ODST. Sales have already been encouraging for the 360, moving 215,000 units in August, an increase over July sales figures. With these revised prices and high quality games and services the powerhouse of Microsoft and Sony look set to enjoy a rich holiday season. So finally we have the little engine that could, the Nintendo Wii. A unit without the latest graphics or DVD players but innovations in the way we play games and the way we can play games in a social setting and more importantly, as a family. The system has dominated since its release even though it hasn't impressed the so called 'hardcore' gamers. Instead it has relied on the newly dubbed 'casual' market which consists of mums and dads, grandparents, girls, boys just about everyone who doesn't exactly like to own noobs online. With it's simple and fun games like Wii Sports and Mario Kart it has dominated the market and remained unchanged since it's release. There have been no price cuts, no unit upgrades because it hasn't needed them, until now. With the latest round of price drops from Microsoft and Sony an Xbox 360 Elite is only $50 more than a Wii in Australia and a Slim $100 more. Seeing as Christmas is the time when AAA titles like Halo, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed II, and Uncharted are released the Wii could see it's sales severely hurt. These are the types of games that people are prepared to buy a console for just so they can play them. They have already lost the 'hardcore' gamers due to a lack of generally well produced games outside of the existing Nintendo universe of Mario, Metroid Prime, Donkey Kong and Zelda whilst the lack of adult focused games has also been an issue. It seems a price drop would be needed to once again make the Wii a favourable option for buyers but in early August Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said that they weren't looking at a price cut "right now". Obviously the market has changed since then with the actions of Microsoft and Sony and Kotaku are reporting a rumour that Nintendo are now considering a price drop in the first week of October. The rumour is based on a Walmart ad that states there will be a 'rollback' on the price of the Wii but does not specify a price or any other details. I think the Wii needs this if it is to continue it's plans for world domination as there has been a lot of bad word of mouth about the Wii with several studios saying they won't produce games for it because of the lack of quality games on it and many people who buy a Wii, myself included, say it is fun with friends but a bit lame on your own. Anyway with the attractive price of all three consoles under $500 and a massive line up of games heading into the Christmas period I think this year has the potential to be the closest battle between the consoles which is just what the industry needs.

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