73: Turning the Tables

"When Microsoft launched the 360 last fall, its executive team really didn't know that they would beat Sony's PlayStation 3 by a year. Now, as Microsoft enters its second holiday season, it has more than 160 games available, while Sony will struggle to get 22 out by year's end, and Nintendo shoots for 32 games on the Wii. Microsoft has a permanent advantage over Sony in this generation."

Dean Takahashi goes beyond the inside of the Xbox360 to look at the console's broader impact on the game space.

Turning the Tables

This is a really interesting article. It was cool to see the price of the 360/ps3 and how much money sony has. Wouldn't the money sony made last year be from the ps2 and not really the psp or did it do better than I though?

What I also found interesting was:
"The dearth of first-party titles reflects the fact that Microsoft has the smallest internal development team among the console makers. It has about 1,200 game developers, while Sony has 2,500, Nintendo has an estimated 1,500 and Electronic Arts has more than 5,500."

It's amazing how many people EA employs and how few great titles they try to make. Nintendo manages to push out a ton of games with only 1,500 while the most EA seems to have is the Burnout series by Criterion. I must be missing some, but Ubisoft is a huge third party company that puts out a lot of really good games, mainly the Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia, and Assassin's Creed games. It's hard to think of good EA games, but I think they own Maxis so that's pretty huge. It still seems like EA could at least try to give a fuck.

Again though, great article.

I'm glad to see that M$oft is starting to turn a small profit on the 360s. I love my 360, even though I have had to replace the unit twice due to lousy first-run production issues. Dead Rising and now Gears of War have made me a believer.

Having worked at Maxis PRE and POST absorption into the EA mother ship, I can tell you that Maxis as a creative body no longer truly exists outside of Will Wright (who is of course, still a genius). Most of the core developers at Maxis either left the company once EA took complete control or were moved from Walnut Creek to EARS and are now working at their satellite studio in Emryville working on SPORE. I really loved working at Maxis when they still had hands-on control of their company. EARS is a corporate cesspool where creativity goes to die. Just look at what they did with the Sims console titles following the takeover. No one asked for URBZ, Sims 2 on PS2, Sims 2 Pets on PS2, but there they are, primarily to pad the VPs console portfolio presented to stock holders. "The Sims franchise is one of our strongest performers on the PC. Oh yes, we also have that franchise on the consoles." It's too bad EA can't develop IDEAS outside of their own company, rather than just buying companies that do and turning them into franchise spewing zombies.

The only great news out of EA this year was them finally letting go of the James Bond license. What an albatross! Lord of the Rings is starting to stink up the place as well...Godfather II, anyone?

Interesting that Microsoft think the 360 has a five year lifespan. If they stick to that and Sony stick to the ten year cycle they seem to favour, that's when things will get REALLY interesting. If that happened, I suspect Microsoft could take the number one spot quite easily.

One point I disagree on is the relative merits of the online services. Microsoft may have a huge lead on paper but with no monthly charge to pay Sony's service is looking like great news for non-hardcore gamers who might have trouble justifying the cost of XBL "Gold".

Personally, I'm very skeptical, in real terms, the Xbox has been nothing but a massive wallet burn to Microsoft. The amount of money they have pumped into the two systems, I highly doubt they have actually made any legitimate return on it and I highly doubt they will see some in the next few years either. I'm pretty sure Microsoft are well aware of this though, they know they didn't capitalise their lead as well as they should have and they know Japan was yet another failure.

It would be silly to underestimate either MS or Sony here. No matter how good the 360 figures appear to be and how poorly the PS3 seems to be doing, the consoles are in totally different stages of their life cycle. With the 360, there is only one game the vast majority of people want and that's Halo 3. That game is now a few days away and it'll be, in my mind, the absolute peak of the 360s lifespan. With the PS3 however, all it's major titles are at least coming next year with MGS in Spring 08 and then the FFXIII games probably landing in Japan in 2009. Microsoft are well aware of their future software line up 'problem' and so have been for the past year "buying" up exclusives left right and centre. They'll clearly win a few sales with this strategy, but they find the next flagship title after Halo to keep people interested.

As for Sony money matters, I read Sony has a huge amount of wealth through assets and are making large profits in other sectors of the company.

Gpig:

Nintendo manages to push out a ton of games with only 1,500

I think Nintendo do a lot of deals with other parties to make the games for them but under the Nintendo name.

 

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