vs. Wii and the Future

When people began discussion the “next
generation” of console games, most of the talk centered around who was going to
come out on top, PS3 or Xbox 360. And frankly the discussion was pretty boring.
It wasn’t about who was going to knock the other one out of the gaming
business. This generation was going to be who would strike the first blow in
knocking the other company out two or three generations from now.

Meanwhile, Nintendo’s “kiddie-funbox” as
some people referred to it, was an afterthought. When it came to the Big N,
people discussed whether Nintendo could afford to stay in 3rd place.
The only significance Nintendo could have would be if it followed Sega’s lead
and licensed out the plumber, the elf-kid and the hot chick in the robot suit.
If so, would one of the Big 2 be able to get the exclusive rights? Would that
sway the balance?

But really, what’s the difference between a
PS3 and an Xbox360? There is the Sony-RPG-Japanese and Xbox-Action-American
distinction, but in honestly there is not much of a difference. Look at the
marketing. Marketing for the “next-generation centered on mudslinging and
rumors. The negative stories got to the point where I wouldn’t have been
surprised if an article read “one source at a major retailer said that there
could be shipping delays due to fears that the system may give the owner AIDS.”

More recently, the marketing has shifted to
commercials with flashy graphics and ads giving a price comparison. That’s how
companies market bleach. However, while all the Sony-Microsoft name-calling was
going on, we didn’t notice that Nintendo had begun on its own path. A very
important path.

At first glance, a comparison between PS3
and Wii revolves around the super computer entertainment device vs. a gimmicky
game machine. However, the distinction runs deeper. PS3 and Wii represent two
completely different philosophies about gaming and what consumers want.

In Playstation’s three generations certain
aspects have not changed. And for the most part, it’s tough to blame Sony.
Since PSOne, Sony has been the toast of the console community. Why fool around
with a winning solution?

As a result, PS2 and PS3, in terms of
gaming, haven’t offer many new innovations. Look at the controllers. When the
original PS3 controller was mocked as a “batarang,” Sony scrambled and came up
with a controller that looks very much like the PS2 controller. Look at the
games. It the same shooters, GTA-types, sports and RPGs.

What’s been added have been the DVDs
players, the mp3 players, the possibility of DVR and HD graphics. What does
that say about Sony’s philosophy? Offer something upgrades, (and yes they are
very nice upgrades), but don’t mess with got you there in the first place. Sony’s
attitude is that regardless of price, people will buy their machine. Why?
Because people are comfortable with their machine. Sony is the conservative in
this analysis. Now look at Nintendo.

Look at Wii’s code name, Revolution. There
is no denying Wii is a reinvention for Nintendo. Nintendo was thought of for
years of being a dinosaur, as being the company that couldn’t and wouldn’t change.
People sang of the death of Nintendo, the company that forgot that its core
gamers grew up and wanted more mature games.

Now going into this new generation, look at
what Nintendo has done. Nintendo has the trendy systems, the trendy games, it’s
the guy who shows up to a Capital Hill party wearing a message t-shirt and
aviator glasses. You’re not sure if it’s gonna fly, but it sure is different
than the rest. Nintendo is saying “we will push gaming in a new direction.” The
key being gaming, not game machines.

Nintendo proposes to change the games we
play and how we play them. On the other end of the spectrum Sony looks to
improve the mechanism we play games, to make the games we have been playing
that much better. It is now up to us, the consumer, on what our philosophy is.

of the “last generation”

The legacy of the old generation won’t be
as significant as some once thought. Two years ago the legacy would have been
described as the end of Nintendo and the Beginning of the Conglomeration Wars.
It would have been a lesson about a giant in the gaming world became a
dinosaur. It would have been how this marked the rise of electronic, not gaming,
companies into the gaming world.

Now people will remark how Xbox entered the
market, but more importantly, how the seeds of a shift in gaming were planted.

Master Control Program Discussion Thread.

MCP (Master Control Program) is video game column, long dormant since the halcyon days of Russ Fischer and Jeremy Slater. Now it rises from the ashes to discuss and cover the console and handheld systems creeping into our lives with reckless abandon.