Console Wars: Why Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo all have a shot
Talk about marketing.
When Microsoft announced their latest console, the One, chief competitor Sony’s stock rose over $2 per share. But that was just the latest mark against the supposed king of the console wars.
WIth the previous generation, the 360 outsold the competition by a large margin – in fact, Yahoo! reported console sales had passed the 76 million mark, making it the fourth-best selling console of all time. Sony took a major hit with it’s Playstation 3, ceding market share and position of top-dog as Xbox Live became the number one place for multiplayer action.
With the Halo, Gears of War, and Call of Duty franchises taking off, the Xbox Live experience was further bolstered, skyrocketing memberships and further proving Microsoft had taken the previous round.
Missteps in the design process were the first sign of cracks in the crown. BGR reported Microsoft’s plans of forcing Xbox users to be online to play, spawning such columns entitled “Giving the next Xbox an always-online requirement might be suicidal.”
The backlash, notably on Twitter, was swift and firm: Don’t do it.
In September last year, more problems arose, with console chip production issues plaguing the console’s development.
Meanwhile, Sony rolled out it’s announcement of the PS4, creating further intrigue as to just what Microsoft was going to do with their next system.
Nintendo had their niche market carved out nicely, but their next entry has fallen a bit flat.
Nintendo’s Wii sits one slot HIGHER than the Xbox 360 on the all-time console sales list (Playstation and PS2 are tops), and if you look at their marketing, it’s been spot on. While many gamers laughed at the name choice – as opposed to the originally-reported name, ‘Revolution’ – Nintendo has never been shy regarding their target audience: Literally, anyone!
“Whether you’re five or 95, there’s a great game waiting for you with Wii,” their web site says. Commercials, photos, many advertisement showcased families enjoying the Wii together.
It worked, as the Wii surpassed the 360 in total sales in September of 2007 and never looked back. With a name even young kids could say, and plenty of familiar characters to a culture that knows who Mario, Sonic, and Link are, people of all ages embraced the radically new controller and gameplay.
The Wii U has notably lagged in sales, failing to meet Nintendo’s projected sales of four million in the previous quarter, and has sold only 13.4 million units total through March. They forecast another 25 million in sales by the end of 2013, which would still represent less than half of the sales of the original Wii.
So, in short, what happens now?
Initial reaction to the One has mocked it’s name (“4 > 1!” said Sony fanboys everywhere), the controller’s new/old look to the original Xbox controller, and spawned images such as famous chef Gordon Ramsay tearing Microsoft a new one (warning: A bit of cursing).
Reaction to the Playstation 4 has been that of cautious optimism, with a lot of “I haven’t seen too much” yet coursing through the population at large, although many have already raced to compare the tech specs of the console to the One.
Meanwhile, Nintendo continues to develop and market it’s Wii U, proclaiming it as a new console entirely instead of merely an upgrade to the original Wii.
WIthout full details on either the Playstation 4 or Xbox One’s design and capabilities, the jury remains out – at least until the holiday dollars are ready to be spent.