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PS2 Vs. X-Box: Winner Emerging? 949

Posted by Hemos
from the battle-of-the-titans dept.
gripdamage writes "This article on MSNBC says XBox's sales are slowing and are not expected to meet Microsoft's expectations. MSNBC previously reported that sales have been weak in Japan. The strongest and most interesting assertion in the article is that "In its regular global video game survey last week, Goldman Sachs said U.S. retailers showed a 'surprisingly clear' preference for Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 2 over the Xbox."" X-Box isn't dead yet - not by a long shot.
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PS2 Vs. X-Box: Winner Emerging?

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  • by FortKnox (169099) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:29AM (#3316157) Homepage Journal
    1.) No sales in Japan? Lets see, choices that have existed in the Japanese console department are Nintendo (Japanese corp), PS2 (Japanese corp), Sega (Japanese corp), and now X-Box (american corp).

    2.) With PS2's backward compatability, they already jump the gun with a large userbase already established AND a large game selection already established.

    3.) This was X-Box's first release. Lets determine a winner after either a.) MS (or Sony) drop out of the console market or b.) The 2nd or 3rd generation X-Box.
  • Killer Apps (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yet Another Smith (42377) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:29AM (#3316158)
    What's the reason behind this? Is it the technology, the pricing, or the software? Halo is cool, but its no GTA3. Is there some break-out, gotta-have-it game waiting in the wings to make x-box take the lead? With PS2 getting Everquest, the logical response might be an Asheron's Call port to X-Box, but is there anything in the wings that makes X-Box look better?

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:29AM (#3316159) Homepage Journal
    Once again there's the lesson that someone with zilch-nada experience cannot expect success overnight, if at all, by barging into an established and competitive market. Sony's success wasn't immediate, either. If M$ wants to succeed then they must adopt the long view.

    So, will they decide it's not working and pull-out and leave those X-Box owners dangling (I.e. future Slashdot article titles, "Linux on the X-Box a Review of Distributions","New Life For Your Old XBox - Cheap Firewall", and the inevitable Jon Katz feature lamenting how we are not all playing our fathers' video game consoles anymore)

  • by Chainsaw (2302) <jens.backman@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:33AM (#3316193) Homepage
    If you look at the prices in Sweden, you can get your X-Box for 4700 SKR (remove last digit to get US dollars). You get a Playstation 2 for 1200 SKR less, and automatically gain the possibility to play all of your old PS1 games. The much larger existing game base for the PS2, and the price, is dragging Microsoft down.
  • by Blackwulf (34848) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:33AM (#3316199) Homepage
    A retailer told me recently that Microsoft is gonna keep pumping money into the XBox just to keep it on store shelves for about 5 years or so. So, it won't go away like the Dreamcast did, it will just clutter up store shelves.

    My personal conspiriacy theory is that they ARE gonna take XBox's off the shelves and put in their PVR and other stuff to make XBox 2.0 the "ultimate convergence box" that was the big thing in 1998.
  • M$ Shot Own Foot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lysurgon (126252) <joshk@NoSpaM.outlandishjosh.com> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:37AM (#3316245) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft made some very big blunders with the Xbox, especially internationally. For instance, they didn't re-think their controller (already large for US hands) before releasing in Japan. The result was that they had a lot of angry small-handed customers for whom the system was almost unplayable. Talk about a rookie mistake.

    I actually worked at the Xbox-unleashed launch "party" in NYC, a weekend long game tourny/media happening at a swankish club. Sleeping with enemy, I know, but I needed the cash. It was the most forced/fake hooplah event I've ever been at. Most of the hardcore gamers (who were sleeping in shifts on the corner so as to have the best chance at winning the grand prize) trash talked the system when the M$ reps weren't around.

    Mostly they talked about how all the good games were already out for PS2 and about how the controller felt weird. Even though the X-box is supposed to have superior hardware, I havn't seen any remarkable difference between its graphics and the PS2/Gamecube. Unless they find some real innovative ways to exploit the hardware advantages (notably the presence of a Hard Drive) they're dead in the water. When it comes to consoles, to borrow from the Clintion-insider campaign slogan, "it's the games, stupid."
  • by IronTek (153138) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:37AM (#3316251) Homepage
    I think it's about time the X-Box had a price drop. Don't get me wrong. $300 for all the hardware in it is a pretty good deal...to a geek...but to the average buyer (i.e. some kid), he's going to get what his friends all have which, at this time, is the PS2. While it is early in the game for the X-Box to receive a price drop, I think it would be good for Microsoft in the longrun. Nevermind the fact that they'd have to eat more hardware costs sooner than they expected. If people are indeed buying more games than owners of PS2's, they can make it up in software. And as Sony has refused to lower the price on the PS2 (even though it's definitely time they did), this could give microsoft a clear lead, as the technically superior (not to mention a hellava lot easier to program for) X-Box would cost less, sell more, and give microsoft some much needed "street cred" in the video game department.

    ...or something.
  • by iainl (136759) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:38AM (#3316254)
    Givent that last week's numbers in Famitsu show that the X-Box is being outsold by the PSOne of all things, I think we can safely say that its Dead In Japan. A disappointing start in Europe has been compounded with the insider news that total European sales so far don't even match what the Gamecube preorders have managed yet with a month to release, and Microsoft really were looking at struggling by just on their US sales. Bad news there surely means a desperate price drop must be on the way.

    Its kind of a pity, actually - Halo really is very good indeed, and the launch titles generally are much better than what the PS2 saw in its first six months.
  • by gregarine (171102) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:43AM (#3316300) Homepage
    Well Sega certainly seems to be losing them all with Saturn and Dreamcast.
    Agreed that PS2 success lies primarily in the fact that it has more games/developers. This is why the Intel architecture beat Macintosh in the 80's, because to play most games you had to have an Intel/Microsoft machine.
    There really cant be any other reason because X-box hardware is superior to PS2 in every way.
    BTW Saturn's hardware was more powerful then PS2 but it didnt matter. Sony had the developers.
    I myself bought PS2 primarily to play FF X, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Gran Turismo 3. The only thing I am interested in on X-box is Halo and I really dont need another shooter.
  • by Juju (1688) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:46AM (#3316330)
    1) is not the problem since X-Box is slumping in Europe as well...

    2) I don't think back compability is that important now. It was 1-2 years ago, but now it is more that PS2 has got plenty of good games (most can be bought 2nd hand of rhalf the price)

    The real reason? X-Box is more expensive and has less good games! Appart from the hardcore gaming fans (who already bought theirs) who is going to buy an X-Box right now?

    If you go into a shop in the Uk, for the same price you have the choice between:
    PS2 with 5 games (with a choice among 100)
    X-Box with one game (with a choice among 10)

    Seriously, what would you choose?
  • by Fjord (99230) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:46AM (#3316332) Homepage Journal
    The title of the article is "PS2 Vs. X-Box: Winner Emerging?" It's comparing these specific consoles. It's not saying that Sony has beat Microsoft, just that ti looks like they are winning this round. There are many reasons for this, some of which you cite, but it's still valid to say that sales are favoring the PS2, even a year and a half after its release.

    Still, contemporary hard data would be nice. The articles really only talked about the X-box flagging, but also said this is a bad time of year for consoles. There was that sound-bite from Goldman Sachs and data pertaining to the three days after the launches of the respective consoles, but nothing hard to back the claim up.
  • by blankmange (571591) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:49AM (#3316364)
    I bought the PS2 based on upcoming games and the backwards compatibility with PSX games. I waited until GT3 came out (THE game for the PS2) and have not been sorry, either with existing games or future ones. MS brings out the X-Box, promising new technology and new toys, but they also released it how long after PS2?? Given that much time, PS2 would have had a HD and other features built-in. And given the fact that MS loses money on each one, why is it still the most expensive console you can buy?? Existing consumer base + backwards compatibility + pricepoint + kewl games = PS2.... I guess we should really wait until the PS3 arrives and then compare apples and oranges again...
  • by dipfan (192591) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:01AM (#3316479) Homepage
    Today's Financial Times has an interesting article, which suggests Xbox sales are very sluggish. The piece includes an interview with Robbie Bach (head of Xbox at MS), in which he is quoted:

    "Mr Bach refuses to provide the crucial piece of data to measure Xbox's success so far - the number of consoles actually sold. "The investor relations people tell me I can't say," he explains."

    Given MS's usual swiftness to rush into print with sales figures when things are going well, then something's up.
    Here is the article [ft.com]

  • by Blasto.Net (570119) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:02AM (#3316484) Homepage
    I have my PC. It can do everything the X-Box can, plus some. I have my PS2, which is great for playing Final Fantasy X, Gran Turismo 3, and Grand Theft Auto 3.

    What does the XBox have to offer? Nothing. So what do I do? I built the "1337 BOX"! It is my 1gig Celeron with 512megs of SDRAM, and a GeForce3. What does it do? It is my dedicated set top box (more like coffee table box, sits underneath it). It plays movies for me, it plays all my MAME'd arcade games. I can play Max Payne, Quake 3, UT, Dungeon Siege, etc. on my TV and it looks SWEET!

    Would I trade the "1337 BOX" for an XBox? Hell no.

    And by the way, the 1337 BOX is custom painted blue, and has 1337 scrawled on the side using house address numbers. It looks, well, um, 1337...

    -=J=-
  • Re:cause your TV (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ergo98 (9391) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:07AM (#3316525) Homepage Journal
    It's not even just that though : I've seen actual slowdowns in some of the demo games running at the local EBs (sidenote: Why is it that usually it's the garbage games that they have running as demos? Perhaps MS has an agreement where they'll give face time to the companies that made games, but these things are KILLING xbox sales. I have NEVER seen Halo, arguably the killer app current for the xbox, running on a demo station) in scenes that my home PC would wail through with ease at 1024x768 : Again I have to presume some gross programmer inefficiency because I know that technically the graphics subsystem is superior to mine, but it just isn't capitalized.
  • by CaseyB (1105) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:07AM (#3316528)
    The real reason? X-Box is more expensive and has less good games!

    Yep. Though "more expensive" is debatable, it's equivalently priced in most places.

    The PS2 is right in the sweet spot right now, for game volume and quality. The "2nd generation" PS2 games are arriving, and they're good. While the quality of Xbox games is generally high, there are simply not enough available.

    That's really the only reason. No one's complaining about the hardware, apart from the "giant controller" gripes. Even PS2 fanboy reviews will grudgingly admit that the Xbox has better tech under the hood. So I don't expect that MS's answer to the sales problems will be Xbox 2.0. It's going to be even more partnering with or purchasing of game developers.

    MS will never abandon the unit, they know how important it is. They're gonna go terminator, here: It absolutely will not stop, ever. They want to relive the Netscape/IE story in the worst way.

  • by Sid Meier's username (569387) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:11AM (#3316567)
    Unfortunately I don't have a link, but the Cube did outsell the XBox last week by about four thousand units. The reason this is kind of significant is that the GameCube hasn't seen any big releases recently. Looks like MS was just better at getting stock to the stores, but now that Nintendo has caught up things might start to change. Especially with Resident Evil coming out the first week of May. This story really is ridiculous, though. First of all, no winner emerges six months into a five year console lifespan. Second, the PS2 had a full year head start, and six months into it's lifetime there was NOTHING to play on the damn thing (maybe SSX and TTT, but I wasn't really impressed until GT3 came out last summer). Third, there are more than two competitors here, and anyone writing off Nintendo is a fool, especially considering their lineup for the second half of the year. I wonder how many people remember that the N64 rolled all over the PSX until FFVII was released.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:14AM (#3316591)
    The main reason I don't like the X-box is that it is part Microsoft's attempt to extend their monopolistic hegemony.

    The secondary reason I don't like the X-box is that it uses an x86 processor. While the x86 is a good desktop processor, and one heck of a good value, it is not the best choice for embedded work. For one thing, the x86 sucks up way too much electricity. It is the price that we pay for backward compatibility with legacy software. But on a new embedded platform, with no need for legacy support, choosing an x86 is a sign that something is wrong with your thinking, or your abilities as a company, or both.

  • by Boone^ (151057) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:18AM (#3316631)
    Let's see... PS2 came out in a virtual next-gen void. DC was winding down, publishers wanted to go with the known commodity, Playstation's follow-on. So, PS2 started selling with major problems, but the desire for a box was so great that they were the de facto "buy" recommendation.

    XBox started with PS2 having 1 year lead and another top console, the Gamecube, a week away from launch.

    Consoles are crowded now. It's been proven over and over that the XBox has superior visuals and audio (if only for the fact that it's 18 months newer than the PS2) but it's in a fight for growth with the Gamecube against the PS2. A huge head-start is never easy to compete with, but it isn't a reason to write off the underdog.

    If you were to replace "Playstation 2" with "Windows", and replace "XBox" with "Linux", this thread would have 1200 comments all stating how just because Windows sells more doesn't mean it's better. But, when MS is the underdog, /. tastes blood in the water and moves in for the kill. Let's be objective!

    (I like to think of myself as objective, but I do own an XBox and 6 games, so I may be biased)
  • Re:Makes sense to me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thebruce (112025) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:37AM (#3316779) Homepage
    Broadband support from Xbox:
    None, and details are unknown (expect something at E3, but the broadband support is suppose be rolled out June 2002.

    Broadband support from Sony:
    Ethernet/Modem kit that allows you to specify how to connect, Linux kit that lets you do just about anything you want (rip/play MP3's, connect to the Internet), Upcoming AOL support (Yes, AOL sucks, but that's still a damn lot of people)


    Holy cow are you uninformed. You marked the dvd remote as costing people $20-$30, but didn't mark the PS2 accessories as costing money.

    1. Xbox has a built-in ethernet port and card - ie once the online system is active, it's plug and play, and that has always been the plan. Broadband only, so no bottlenecks from slower modem users. Sony's plan wasn't broadband online gaming from the start.

    2. Online gaming - Halo, with a workaround, yes is playable online, but it was optimized for LAN, not 'net, so it's slower and not optimized for online. And you don't know of future online games? There are many, the most anticipated of course, being Unreal Championship. Microsoft is not stupid, and they will not begin an online system without massively good online games. PS2 will be rolling out their online system around the same time, but MS has much more experience with online communities and gaming.

    If you're a PS2 fan, you could say it's a tie for anything online related. But if you're realistic, Xbox has the lead in this area.

    3. Game support. Yes, PS2 may have more better games. And yes, PS2 has more games. Now consider the ratio of games to good games - Xbox comes out on top. When you compare two consoles where the difference is a full year, PS2 obviously will come out on top. You can't compare quantities in relation to time. PS2 has a larger fanbase, PS2 has more games, PS2 generally has a head start. With MS having a handicap of one year, it's doing far better than I personally, would expect. If you want to be objective, compare strating figures of both consoles. Compare the first month, or the first 3 months of the 2 systems. Xbox takes the lead here.

    FYI I couldn't care less that Xbox is made by Microsoft. Why do you think they barely advertise their name on their xbox ads? They know the tension and hatred so many have towards them. They want Xbox to succeed without relating it to the infamous software giant as much as possible. Take that as good or bad, I like Xbox because it's a great system, IMHO. Give MS time, and it'll end up just as big as PS2.

    All, great systems. PS2, Xbox, Gamecube. Just buy the one that has more games that you like. That's all it's about.
  • Here's one for ya. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Timmeh (555676) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:50AM (#3316890)
    Jet Set Radio Future is THE REASON to own an X-Box. I've owned a PS2 for about 6 months and I've played and finished what I think to be the 6 or 7 best games on the PS2. I have to say that quality games are seriously lacking on X-Box. My brother bought Halo and Munch's Odessey first thing. Halo was boring in my opinion and Munch was ok, if not a little formulaic.

    But like, three weeks ago me and my bro each went halfway on Jet Set Radio Future and we can't get enough of it. Great gameplay, beautiful graphics, and tons to play. We've averaged about 26-27 hours of playtime, well worth the $50 price tag. It's absolutely gorgeous and there is only occasional slow down.

    It may be slow going but X-Box will catch up as soon as it has more A+ titles like JSRF.

  • Because (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DapperDan (513839) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @12:20PM (#3317127)
    Some of us wait for the games to come out before we buy the system.
  • by @madeus (24818) <slashdot_24818@mac.com> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @12:36PM (#3317261)
    PS2 games certainly look rusty compared to the X box. I have held off buying a PS2 because in reality they weren't all that much better than Dreamcasts (which came out 2 years ealier and was great).

    The PS One was great and ahead of the game, but the PS 2 wasa meger upgrade put next to the Dreamcast, and in part only had such a 'wow' factor because the Dreamcast was so poorly marketed that not many people saw it (and partly because they went off Sega after the Mega CD & 32x fiasco and the whipping the Saturn got at the hands of the PS One - which was because Sega made a primarily 2D console where as Sony looked ahead and focused on 3D performance).

    If you've seen Dead or Alive 2 on the Dreamcast and on the PS 2 - and noticed how much better is on the Dreamcast (really!), you'll know what I mean about the Dreamcast's great peformance.

    That doesn't mean the PS2 is consistantly always performs worse than the Dreamcast, just that it's not really much better (and as it's 2 years older, it *should* be). It's better on paper, but not to the extent that it can render games noticeably better than a Dreamcast as far as most people can tell it's not - which is the point.

    The X Box however looks really fantastically better HW wise, the only thing that puts me off is that it's Microsoft. They have obvious things like bump mapping (the PS2 really should have this IMO) and nicer looking filtering on textures (IMO) and certainly seem to be able to shift significantly more heavily textured polygons. The games, like Dead Or Alive 3, look really great to me.

    I would love to see GTA3 on the X Box, I think it would really trounce the PS version. This is true because, yes the X-Box is newer and so natrally should have the upper hand a little, but also because the PS2 is not all it should have been (bearning in mind how long it took to come out).
  • by pubjames (468013) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @12:52PM (#3317412)
    Remember how MS were caught with their pants down on the Internet, but they turned on a dime and now they are a very serious player in the space.

    I find it funny when I come across this meme, which was originally put about by Microsoft itself. How, exactly, have Microsoft turned on a dime and become a very serious player in the Internet space?

    They gave away their Internet Explorer, from which they make no profit. They failed in their attempt to squash AOL, even though they threw money at MSN - at one stage practically giving away $400 dollars a time to get people to sign up. They brought Hotmail for $400 million in January 1998, and over four years later are only just starting to get any revenue from it. They were wrong footed by Suns Java in 1998, and have only recently released a copycat solution. They've been wrongfooted by competition from Open Source, and have yet to come up with an effective strategy to it. Apache software is still installed on over 60% of all web servers. But most significantly, they don't make any serious revenue selling products or services over the web, nor are their products yet really integrated with the web.

    Bearing in mind that the web started to take off exponentially about seven years ago, please tell me, how exactly has Microsoft "turned on a dime" with regards to the Internet?

    So they got everyone to use a product (IE) by giving it away for free as part of the default install on 99% of PCs sold. Gosh. Well done Microsoft!

  • Re:Umm? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by analog_line (465182) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @02:06PM (#3318063)
    You obviously haven't been paying attention to recent gaming history, have you?

    "near-flat-shaded cartoonish games" made the PSOne the most popular console ever. The crappy PSX chewed up and swallowed the Dreamcast (which when in the right hands can push pixels at least as well as the launch PS2 games did) and would've done so to the N64 if the Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon franchises hadn't kept it hanging on for dear life. Both of those systems have _far_ superior graphics, and both fell before the PSX.

    Even games don't make the console. The Dreamcast had at least twice the number of games released in the US in its 1.5 year run before the death announcement than the N64 had when it was released in 1996. It's got some of the best games I've ever played. Skies, of Arcadia, Armada, Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, the playable Jedi Power Battles, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Sonic Adventure 1 & 2. More and more DC games get ported and sequeled on other systems all the time. Yet somehow it didn't survive.

    Image makes or breaks systems. Image killed the Dreamcast because of the "power" of a system that wasn't even out for more than a year after the DC's release. Image is what's giving Microsoft's Xbox some serious problems, because alot people just despise Microsoft, and while they may feel that they can't get away from them on the PC, they can sure as hell not give them any more money.

    There's one or two Xbox titles I'd want to play. Ones that would normally get me to buy the system, but I'm not doing it because it's Microsoft, and I'm trying to take a stand. No it won't bring them down. Sony and Nintento aren't wonderful by any means, I have no illusions about this. It's just where I feel can have the most impact on preventing Microsoft from extending their defacto monopoly. And from what I can see it's working pretty well.

    The day Microsoft announces that the Xbox is dead, I'll buy a used one and some games, but not before then.
  • by erasmus_ (119185) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @03:13PM (#3318555)
    Xbox is the same except that its bigger, heavier, uglier, and makes you pay extra $$$ for DVD playback.

    People just love repeating the statement about Xbox costing extra. Just once more, let's go over this.

    What's the primary purpose of a game console? To play games.

    What's the usual thing to do when one plays a game? Save your progress.

    Which system comes built-in with next to unlimited storage for saved games (hard drive)? Xbox

    Which system requires you to buy a memory card (bringing it to the same price as Xbox with DVD playback)? PS2

    So, did MS make the right choice in including storage instead of DVD playback with the system? I guess that depends if you see the primary function of your game console as a DVD unit or a game station. I think you can tell by this post where I stand.

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