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Console wars are about timing and short memories

So GameDaily has an article about how the PS3 will win again, citing some very interesting reasons that, if you happen to be completely devoid of the ability to use logic, seem reasonable. Now I’m not about to go giving reasons for why I disagree, someone has already gone over the points for me. But what I will do is explain one very serious fact that a lot of places on this crazy interweb of ours seem to be missing, Sony is so insanely far from being able to have a good launch this time around that they may never be able to crawl out of this hole.

What do I mean by this? Well it’s simple. Gamers tend to have short memories, how else do you explain the fact that we can completely forget to do what ever chore or task we have been asked to do while playing game X. We also don’t pick systems based on name, no matter what ANY market analyst or journalist may tell you. We pick systems based on where the games we want to play are, or potentially where we think they are going to be. As on off shot of that, development houses don’t make their games for consoles, they make them for the captive market that console has. Now if you put these two things together you get a disaster for Sony.
Even if Sony sells out and Nintendo only sells most of it’s consoles at launch, something that is very unlikely to happen, most likely both will sell out. Nintendo will still have at least twice as many consoles in homes for Christmas. Sony will have a hard time meeting demand for probably about a year, all this time there will be plenty of Xbox 360’s on shelves, because they don’t seem to be selling very well, and a few Wii’s, because Nintendo seems to be churning these things out as if it’s been making them for years. What will parents do? By what is available. Oh wait, that means that most of the market will have systems other then the PS3, what is a development house and it’s publisher to do? Oh right, make games for the other two systems. Most developers are already gushing about the Wii so they will probably take a chance on some crazy idea they have in their head. And this crazy cycle will continue until Nintendo rules again.
So here is my prediction: With Sony struggling to have even a mediocre launch and probably not being able to fix this any time soon, the installed user base of ps3 is going to be way too small to justify the cost of development for the system. A good number of game companies are going to pull back support for the system “temporarily” until some of these issues are fixed. But these resources have to go somewhere and will go to making more games for the other systems. Nintendo, who already has a great launch lineup and plenty of consoles to go around just happens to also have the novelty of a new interface, and game designers love novelty…mostly because they rarely see it while making Game X number 33 or what ever their last project happened to be a sequel to. This will lead them to lean towards trying to make something for Wii. This sudden spike in Wii games that will occur around May next year(because most of what I just said has already happened or is currently happening at a large number of companies who see the same launch issues I do) will drive a lot of interest in Wii that just has the games people want to play, and publishers love spikes in sales. They will start pushing for even more Wii titles. And this is where I see the start of a vicious spiral of death…wait I got that backwards. A wonderful spiral of happy gaming.
As you can see this logic is perfect…ok, maybe not prefect, plenty of things can happen differently, but for the most part it will take Sony at least 3 years to get out of the hole they have dug for themselves, by which time Nintendo will be doing a lot better then the market analysts are saying.

Tomasz Kolodziejczyk on October 29th, 2006 | Filed under Games | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Console wars are about timing and short memories”

  1. Corvillus Says:

    There it is, that little issue of console availability. I knew I was forgetting something in my analysis. Anyway, that coupled with the high price and the lack of fresh innovation doesn’t bode all that well for Sony this generation, to say the least.

  2. Playstation 3 Launch Information Says:

    I totally agree that its going to be very difficult for Sony to get out of the mess that they are in. They have too few units for North America, and Japan for that matter. With Christmas season coming up, big investments into consoles are going to be made. Without the option of the PS3, one may be inclined to buy a Wii or Xbox 360. Pricepoint alone dictates that the Wii might be the better seller overall due to pricepoint and game linup. Likewise the 360 has a nice assortment of games already, but the system is still a bit steep.

    I guess Sony can always sell those PS2 Sliver Slims they just releases *rolls eyes*

  3. Japan to recieve fewer PS3s at launch - Corvillus Says:

    […] Due to shortages in required components, Sony will launch with only 80,000 PlayStation 3 consoles in Japan. That’s 20,000 fewer than the original anticipated 100,000, which was by no means a surplus to begin with. I won’t get into too many details right now about why this is bad for Sony (if you really do want details on that, Tom has a pretty good take on the issue), but suffice to say, less launch PS3s does not equate to more marketshare, at least not in the short term anyway. […]