In response to Kaz Hirai’s recent comment that the Xbox 360 lacks “longevity,” Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg stuck his tongue out and said, “Nyah nyah.”
No, he didn’t actually say that, but he did point out what he sees as a flaw in Hirai’s argument in Official PlayStation Magazine that Sony would eventually emerge as the dominant player in the videogame industry despite bringing up the rear in current-gen console sales. “This sounds like an old hardware company that’s comfortable with its market position,” Greenberg, the director of product management for the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, told The Bitbag. “That complacent attitude is out of touch with where the industry and consumer is today.”
Also out of touch, apparently, is the idea that the best hardware will necessarily be the most successful product, a point driven home with perhaps a touch of irony by the Nintendo Wii. “This generation won’t be won over just hardware specs, but who can out-innovate when it comes to online and software,” he continued. “This is the kind of stuff that’s in our DNA, and frankly moves the console war onto our home court.”
The “console war” between the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, that is. Like a schoolyard bully who doesn’t get invited to birthday parties because he won’t stop beating up on the smaller kids, Nintendo finds itself essentially excluded from the tussle between Microsoft and Sony.
“I’m confident we will outsell the PS3 throughout the entire generation by providing more innovation and building the best and broadest games library while growing our entertainment experiences on the leading online network,” Greenberg said. “With a U.S. install base lead now of more than 7 million units (according to NPD), I can’t imagine any scenario where the PS3 can catch up with us. In fact, even if you doubled the current PS3 sales and Xbox 360 remained flat, they couldn’t close the gap until 2014.”
Which, interestingly, is the year VentureBeat predicted the Wii will surpass the PlayStation 2 as the best-selling console of all time.
But isn’t this all getting a little tiresome? Sony babbles about superior hardware, Microsoft bleats about higher sales and fanboys on both sides of the fence explode with rage, but ultimately, so what? Both companies are pushing forward with plans they believe are the best for the industry, and unlike past years when the gamer demographic was far tighter, most analysts agree that it’s possible for two or even three major consoles – which is to say, all of them – to survive and thrive in today’s market. So why is it necessary to keep shooting spitballs at one another from across the room?