The Nintendo Wii U has kicked off a new generation of consoles. The device, which comes with HD graphics that can about match those we have from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, will likely be joined by vastly more powerful PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 consoles at some point in the next year or so.
Once those devices launch, it will be time to handicap the marketplace. Which console will succeed? Which console will fail? And perhaps most importantly, which console will win the next-generation battle?
[Image credit: Andreas Levers]
I’m sure there are those in each company’s camp armed with reasons their particular favorite will win.
Those who support Nintendo will say that the company’s commitment to innovation and fun, coupled with its high-quality first-party library, will be enough for the Wii U to dominate the gaming market.
Sony fans disagree. They point to the PlayStation 3’s late surge in the gaming space to make their case. Sony fans believe that the PlayStation 4 will come with high-quality specs and a large game library that will give it the edge. To think otherwise, they might say, would be nonsense.
Microsoft, however, has a different take. The Xbox 360 has proven steady over the last six years, and it’s likely that in the U.S. and Western Europe, it will have a strong showing. And Microsoft’s fans say that the software giant’s online experience and Kinect functionality will impress gamers and get enough people to join up to take over the console market.
I honestly believe that all three companies have a chance at dominating the next-generation console market. After all, coming off the GameCube, no one thought that Nintendo would win the space, but it did so with the Wii. And although the PlayStation 3 got off to a slow start, it’s starting to show now why it had so much promise in the beginning.
At this point, though, I don’t quite know how Nintendo expects to hang tough over the long-term. The Wii U, while nice for its fans, will be trumped very quickly by whatever Microsoft and Sony offer. And if Nintendo doesn’t find a way to respond with some sort of update or new addition to the console’s featureset, it will be impossible for the game maker to keep pace.
Sony’s issue might have something to do with cost. The company has historically tried to deliver a high-end product, but in the gaming market lately, value has been the name of the game. And I’m not sure Sony realizes that.
Microsoft, meanwhile, might be popular in the U.S. and Europe, but the company has yet to establish itself in Asia. And until it capitalizes on that extremely important continent, the Xbox 720 will have some trouble.
So, while all three consoles might have some features that could push it over the top, they all also have some troubles. And the winner of the next console generation will be determined not by how much “stuff” they all have, but by how well they can get over the issues and capitalize on their virtues.
It should be a fun fight to watch.