CBCnews

Console comparisons are premature

by Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Who'd have thought a few years ago, when Nintendo was getting whooped in video games by rivals Microsoft and Sony, that the venerable Japanese company would now be the one laughing? According to the Financial Times, Nintendo's Wii has officially surpassed the Xbox 360 in sales, despite Microsoft's console having a year headstart. Sony's PlayStation 3, by the way, is a distant third.

The Wii, which launched in November last year and is built around simple games that use its motion-sensing controller, has sold approximately 9 million units worldwide as of the end of July. The 360, which launched in November of 2005 and is built around high-end graphics and online gameplay, has sold 8.9 million units, according to the FT. The PS3, which was released at the same time as the Wii and features the most advanced technology not to mention a Blu-ray DVD player, has sold only 3.7 million. It's a remarkable turnaround for a company that finished last in the last round of video game console wars, where the Nintendo Gamecube sold less than the original Xbox and the PlayStation 2.

Many industry analysts are pointing toward the Wii's lower price and the fact that it appeals to an audience beyond just hard-core gamers as the reasons for its success. Indeed, Wii games can be picked up by just about anyone and learned in a matter of minutes, as opposed to many 360 and PS3 games, which are often quite complicated and require manual dexterity and button-mashing ability.

Still, the possibility that the Wii is a novelty lingers and the current console war is far from over. This holiday season will be the real showdown, with all three consoles now established and poised to release their heavy-hitting titles. Microsoft is bringing the latest version of its flagship title, Halo 3, to the Xbox 360 and could cut the console's price before the holidays. Both will result in the company selling a pile more consoles. Comparing overall sales numbers in January, after the smoke of Christmas settles, will give a real idea of who's winning the console war and, in the bigger picture, which way video gaming is going.

Comments

  •  
  •