Hasty Conclusions

Now that the PlayStation 3 and Wii have been stateside for nearly two months, many people have taken the time to reflect over the aftermath. Prognosticators are already ordering the gravestone for Sony, and polishing the crown for Nintendo.
The PlayStation 3 is still in somewhat short supply but unlike at launch, demand has seemed to dwindle to worrisome levels, while the Wii cannot be found at retailers at all, with virtually everyone embracing its new level of interaction.

NotifyWire.com president Ian Drake noted in early December that a stock of PS3 bundles at eToys.com took over 12 hours to sell out, while similar bundles for the Xbox 360 sold out in less than two minutes following its launch in 2005.

On the other hand, the Wii is selling like hot cakes and Nintendo is indeed hitting the market they were aiming for-both gamers and non-gamers. The Los Angeles Times published a piece chronicling Nintendo’s work with tech-savvy women’s groups they dubbed “Alpha Moms” to share in a night of Wii gaming.

“Most people were like, ‘I don’t play games,” said Linda Perry, founder of the Yahoo parents’ group Peachhead. But by the end of the night, she said, “everybody was playing it. People were working up a sweat.”

With all of this evidence mounted against the PlayStation 3 and in favor of the Wii, it would seem that Sony is bound for failure, but history shows that results can rarely be seen from the starting gate.

The GameCube looked poised to restore some of the Nintendo aura and lore back when it launched in 2001. Nintendo touted online functionality with a broadband adapter, a strengthened software library, and the lowest price.

The GameCube started with a strong lineup of games like Super Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and Metroid Prime, but over time the GameCube fell prey to Nintendo’s notorious record of software droughts and the GameCube finished the console wars with the least market share.

The PlayStation 2 went a different route with a weak early lineup in its first year but eventually became home to one of the greatest software libraries in gaming history with monster franchises like Grand Theft Auto and Metal Gear Solid. To date, the Sony has sold over 100 million PS2s worldwide.

Sony is in the precarious position of proving that they know what they are doing. Given their unbelievable track record in the videogame market, it’s hard to believe they are bound for failure. As they proved with the PlayStation 2, they can even recover from a less than stellar launch.