E3 has been great for 2 out of 3 parties, and horrible for one. Nintendo has had great success. This video displays the insane line around the Nintendo booth to play their new console, the aptly titled Wii. This console is set to revolutionize the gaming world by allowing players to move the controller instead of moving joysticks to play the games. Sounds like fun right ?
Microsoft released a short clip of Halo 3, as well as slew of new games that look fun. They also announced that Grand Theft Auto 4 will be released simultaneously on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. They expect to have around 6 million consoles sold before the Wii and PS3 launch, giving them a very significant head start.
Sony meanwhile, announced... a new controller, that looks exactly like the Playstation 2 controller, with half baked ideas stolen from Nintendo. They also announced a ridiculously high price of $600 for their higher end model with the supposedly superior Blu Ray DVD technology. And this is what they're basing the future of their company on ?!
I've never been a huge fan of Sony's, especially the Playstation, I always though their products lack passion and character. It's finally clear as day now that two very passionate companies, with very bright people are staking their claim to the next generation of game consoles.
This seems to me to be a repeat of what happened with the artifact known as the Sony Walkman. Sony had a huge portion of market share and failed to see the potential for MP3 music players, instead banking on a crappy and proprietary product, the Sony MD walkman.
Meanwhile, Apple created the ipod, took almost all of Sony's market share, and Sony was slow to react. When's the last time you've seen a Walkman ? Maybe at a garage sale 4 years ago ? If Sony loses the console battle, what sort of products do they have left that will give them a competitive moat large enough to distinguish them from the competiton ?
The answer is not many. If the Playstation 3 fails, even if it succeeds moderately, Sony risks losing a lot more than the gaming battle. That's because they bet on Blu Ray technology, which is looking an incredibly bad idea at the moment. These Blu ray enabled playstations will cost the consumer $600, while the Nintendo Wii is rumored to be coming in at the sub $250 and the Xbox 360 tops out at $400.
So it doesn't take an economist to do the math. For the price of a PS3, you could purchase an Xbox 360, which will have pretty much the same graphical wizbangs of a playstation AND buy a Nintendo Wii, which will have what looks like the funnest controller ever created.
I think I'll opt for option 2, thank you very much.