It's (console) War!

It's (console) War!

This holiday season, you, the consumer, will have as many as eight gaming platforms for which to buy new games. And yes, I'm counting both major handhelds, and yes I'm still counting the Gamecube.

There's been a lot of talk about a console "war" and there will undoubtedly be much, much more as the holiday season wears on, and the PS3 and Wii take their place in the next-gen lineup and start trying to woo their way into your pants (pocket - where your wallet is).

Seeing as we're now at the end of September, the beginning of Fall, the beginning of the frantic fall-winter release schedule and it's a payday (for most folks) I'm expecting a great many of you to be rushing out to buy games or perhaps hardware this weekend. And so are the major manufacturers. So let's not disappoint. Go out there and buy!

The question is: buy what? Which, of course, is merely the "in the trenches" translation of the question analysts and industry execs have been asking themselves for over a year: who's going to win the console war?

I believe that their question and yours have two separate answers.

Take my shopping list for the next two months for example:

    Nintendo DS
    New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
    Guitar Hero 2 (PS2)
    Rule of Rose (PS2)
    Okami (PS2)
    Nintendo Wii
    Zelda: twilight Princess (Wii)
    A boatload of Virtual Console titles (Wii)
    Splinter Cell: Secret Agent (X360)
    Lego Star Wars II (X360)
    Star Trek: Legacy (X360)

I could go on, but I'd have to get a second job. I'm not even including the PS3 (which I won't buy until A) the price drops and B) they stop saying things like "we're having trouble getting the components together." Seriously. Nothing inspires fear of new technology faster than the manufacturer's lack of confidence in their own processes or supply lines).

If I were to extend this list into the first few months of next year, I could easily double it. I could probably triple it by including all of the upcoming MMOs that have intrigued me enough to consider playing one. My point is, that's a lot of good gaming right there. More than I've ever been able to look forward to at any one time, I think.

Is this because the game industry happens to be particularly strong right now? Yes. Of course. But it's also because we're at war, and nothing spurs production faster than a wartime economy. Just ask Boeing.

I'm talking of course about the "console war"; the race amongst Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony over who will get more machines into more homes and (most importantly) sell more games. Microsoft has a year's head start and has developed a fairly robust online service. Unfortunately they were slow to exploit that service and too quick to rush consoles out the door, leading to an embarrassing admission this month that they cut some corners in the manufacturing.

Sony is the current king in this space, but their console promises to launch with just as many, if not more manufacturing flubs as the Xbox 360, and it's more expensive to boot. Doesn't look good, Goose. Then again, Sony is Sony. They don't have to be smart, they rule the world. I wouldn't count them out of the race just yet, but they've certainly opened a door to failure - a new experience for them, one imagines.

Nintendo is the wild card here. They lost the last console war (yet, strangely, were the most "profitable" game maker - make sense of that), but now claim to have taken that opportunity to think long and hard about where to go next. Their decision: make games that everyone can play. Not a bad move, and having played their new machine at E3, I have to admit that I think they're on to something. They will also face far fewer mechanical obstacles with their machine, which (considering it's also the cheapest next-gen console) could tip a number of scales in their favor.

So who's going to win? Everyone has an opinion on this, including, from time-to-time, me. In fact, I've probably spouted my own opinion more than half a dozen times in the past few months alone. It changes, because I'm an Emersonian, but I'm currently undecided on who exactly will sell more consoles this generation. I have a guess, but it's based in large part on my own prejudice toward things that A) are tailored to my tastes and B) don't suck. So we'll hold off on that.

It doesn't matter though. Because I think the winner of this console war has already been declared, and it's you. Regardless of which console sells more games, or _insert preferred deity_ goes bankrupt, the machines are coming and the games are being designed. The list of "exclusives" is dwindling on all three calendars, which just means more good news for you, the consumer. Pick your favorite and play.

The "war" will ultimately be "won" by someone, but so long as it rages on, prices will drop, quality will (hopefully) improve and games will march off the assembly lines and into your homes. I say we've got about 18 months to two years before it's really clear exactly who's won this round, and the development support begins to dry up for the loser(s), and by that time the machine(s) in question will have dropped in price to make owning more than one a reasonable proposition. Just like last time. So I say enjoy it while it lasts.

Now get out there and shop. We're counting on you, soldier.

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Holiday Season list for me:

I will buy

-- Wii World --
$249.99 Nintendo Wii
$179.94 3 Wiimotes with Nunchuck
$ 59.99 Zelda: Twilight Princess (price is a guess)
$129.98 Two More Wii Titles as yet undecided.

-- DS World --
$129.99 Nintendo DS Lite (Onyx / Polar White, have not decided)
$ 19.99 Big Brain Academy
$ 19.99 Brain Age
$ 27.99 Worms: Open Warfare
$ 27.99 StarFox Command
$ 19.99 Meteos
$ 29.99 Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team
$ 29.99 Mario Hoops 3 on 3
$ 19.99 Trace Memory
$ 19.99 Advance Wars: Dual Strike

-- PC World --

$ 59.99 Neverwinter Nights 2
$ 59.99 Command and Conquer 3
$ 39.99 Heroes of Might and Magic V Expansion

... I'm gonna be so broke.

I'm going a little Wii crazy this christmas.

Will be buying two consoles (one for me and one for my little brothers)
Couple extra controllers
Zelda
Trauma Centre
Battalion Wars
possibly mario strikers (will wait for some reviews first)

I will also be getting guitar hero 2 and okami (if it gets released here of course)

I may look into a few ds games too, but I'm not sure I will have time to play them all so it would probably be a waste of money.

Was hoping to get a 360 before the end of the year but the lack of time to play and the amount of money im spending already is starting to tell me otherwise. With the PS3 not releasing here till march, I have a feeling that we may get a 360 price drop to coincide with it, which would be just peachy.

Yup... lots of platforms and lots of games but nothing to play... Maybe I'm too selective of a gamer, but it seems that every time I go out on a limb with a game I get burned. Most recently it was Tomb Raider: Legends, which, I'm sorry but was not that good. Does this make me a bad gamer? I think I will only be getting 1 game this holiday season, "Star Trek: Legacy". After that nothing really peaks my interest until Assassins Creed and Bioshock.

Perhaps, I Subconsiously go with "sure things" so that I never have to admit to being wrong, or conned, but I prefer to think that I simply like what I like.

I mean, I've known of Bioshock for some time now in the same veign that I knew about and religiously followed ES4 since sometime late 2003 so it's not like I'm simply jumping on a hype bandwagon. Right? I'll likely go out on a limb for Fable 2, even though 1 burned me badly, but games like Gears of War, Halo 3, Splinter Cell... Meh, not interested.

It's not like I'm just cheap either. I plan to buy a PS3 the day Metal Gear 4 is released, for that game alone, with no other PS3 exclusives on the horizon that pique my interest. I still like to revisit the thief games, Alan wake is totally on my radar but I can't justify the expense or even the lending of support to games / development houses who do not deserve my money. I would like to say that I'm a bit of an art fag (is that word allowed? it's just an expression anyhow) and am only in to games as art, but that is not the case. I love a good couple hour sit down of counter strike, I couldn't begin to count the hours I played unreal tournament (the original).

Certainly I could wax philosophical about those games or any for that matter but I would just be blowing smoke up yer asses. I love a fragfest. Lanparties r t pwnz0rs. w000t w000t, Everyone onboard the pwn train!!!

Perhaps someone can express why they want to absorb and play so many games and spend so much time playing and searching for a good game when 50 percent of them are probably crap. You can pretty much tell a good story from a mile away and IMnotsohumbleO the ability to present stories in a way vastly superior to other media, a game without story is just a wate. I realize the hipocrisy in my words after saying how much I enjoy certain "select" shooters, I prefer to think of it as paradoxical. :D

Anyhow, don't know if I've formed a coherent thought here or not, I'm semi watching my sweety play doom as I type this out but a thought crossed my mind as I read these posts and thought I'd share. Hope I'm not hijacking. :D

seriously,
the_bUg

PS: please excuse my flagrant abuse of the coma.

Not sure how you can count the Gamecube as a gaming choice and exclude the GBA at the same time.

In any case, most of the things I'm interested in in the near future are on Nintendo systems, although there are still some on the PS2 which can be interesting.

Oh, and you forgot the PC platform too. That'll be ten.

I'm already planning on having a Nintendo related fall-holiday season. From the shining newness of the Wii to the DS Lite that keeps calling to me (polar white), the Wii will come first with a smattering of Virtual Console goodness. I for one, welcome our next generation Nintendo overlords.

Final Fantasy was a large reason I got the PS2, and so FFXII is a given. LEGO SW II (Xbox) looks tempting. Time to show some love to the old consoles.

On the PC side, this late/fall winter looks like me simply latching on to the Burning Crusade, lamprey style in addition to one or two other titles that catch my attention (NWN 2 being one, I'm still debating one or two others) when I'm burnt out from that.

Now, if I could only give up this pesky thing called sleep so I could have time to play.

the_bUg:
a game without story is just a waste.

Ahem, guitar hero? wario ware? The sims? every sports game ever made?

Don't even try and tell me that these games are bad, or a waste. They may not suit your tastes but they are good games and very deserving of their place in many game libraries.

Video games really aren't, at their core, a storytelling medium. Games are a different form of entertainment based around interactivity. The fact that you can tell a story through a game and in the process make the game good is just a bonus.

If I want to sit on my couch and be told a story, I will watch a movie or a tv show, or even read a book. If I want to have some fun in a world that may not exist (with a story or otherwise), or in a pursuit that my real world talents are inadequate for, then I only really have one choice.

 

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