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Gates Pegs Nintendo, Not Sony, as Toughest Competition 178

Posted by Zonk
from the when-white-plastic-fights dept.
njkid1 writes "Microsoft's Bill Gates thinks that because of the 'impressive strength' of the company and its new Wii console Nintendo is now Microsoft's biggest competition when it comes to videogames. This is somewhat understandable, given Nintendo's new projections for this year. The Japanese game maker plans to sell an impressive 100 Million DS games this year, along with 21 Million Wii games and some six million consoles. This may seem to be just more flack, to go along with Peter Moore's dismissive comments towards Sony at CES this week, but news of the Halo DS game that almost was puts credence to Microsoft's new priorities."
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Gates Pegs Nintendo, Not Sony, as Toughest Competition

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Damn. I thought that was true until I found out that it's what Gates wants us to think. Then again, maybe it's a clever double bluff. Or maybe he's just desperately trying to make it sound like the 360 is still relevant, regardless of how you rate the other two consoles.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MemoryDragon (544441)
      It still is relvent until may, then Nintendo probably will have outsold the xbox 360...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by trdrstv (986999)
        It still is relvent until may, then Nintendo probably will have outsold the xbox 360...

        Though you are probably right in relation to world wide sales. Nintendo is already the Market leader in Japan (over the 360, and PS3) which I feel will continue on an overall basis for the life of the systems (unless Nintendo has MASSIVE manufacturing issues).

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Doomstalk (629173)
      How is the 360 not relevant? It's got a solid installed base, a lot of great games, strong sales, and a great upcoming lineup. If you think Microsoft is somehow out of the fight, you're either A) a fanboy B) hopelessly misinformed or C) being disingenuous.
      • by trdrstv (986999) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @06:22PM (#17547512)
        How is the 360 not relevant? It's got a solid installed base, a lot of great games, strong sales, and a great upcoming lineup. If you think Microsoft is somehow out of the fight, you're either A) a fanboy B) hopelessly misinformed or C) being disingenuous.

        or D) Refering to the Japanese market.

        Ok, just for the record I'm a Wii60 owner and currently on Gears of War - Act 2, on Insane. I love the 360 and LIVE in particular.

        However the 360 has done shit for business in Japan. Nintendo sold more Wii's on Launch day than the 360 sold (in Japan) to date. (400,000 units vs 280,000). I honestly don't know the problem and why Microsoft can't sell to the Japanese, but 2 X-boxes later they still don't understand the market.

        • by Doomstalk (629173)
          I don't think it has anything to do with a lack of understanding. It has everything to do with a lack of firepower over there. Depreciated though their market perception may be, Sony holds a lot of sway over Japanese devs. Add to that the fact that one of Microsoft's biggest Japanese-centric titles, Blue Dragon, was very late to the party, it's easy to see how they ended up so where they are. Honestly, though, I'm not sure that the Japanese market is all that important to Microsoft. Until the DS came along
          • by bateleur (814657)
            Further to this, it was pretty obvious even to a casual observer that Microsoft bought Blue Dragon onto the platform. One title doesn't make that much difference. XBox 360 is still of relatively little interest to anyone who doesn't care about FPS games (at least that's how I feel about it, being in that category myself).
  • Doesn't "this year" for Nintendo probably mean "the fiscal year ending March 31st"?

    If it does, then that would be saying they think they can sell about another two million consoles in the next two months or so.
    • by k_187 (61692)
      Since they've sold ~4 Million in the last 2 months. I think they'll do ok.
    • by trdrstv (986999)
      If it does, then that would be saying they think they can sell about another two million consoles in the next two months or so.

      Actually that's almost 3 months, and those are 'worldwide' figures. Considering they sold about 4 million units (worldwide) in under 2 months I find 'another 2 million in 3 months' a pretty conservative estimate.

    • Re:"This year"? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Total_Wimp (564548) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:45PM (#17546858)
      Did I miss something? How did DS game sales and comments about the Wii end up in the same write-up? Did Microsoft start planning on producing a handheld while I was hiding under a rock or is there some other Microsoft vs. DS competition I'm missing?

      As far as the Wii is concerned, I think Bill has less to worry about than he's letting on. The two are practically in a different market. The big draws of the 360 are visually impressive games, High Definition and media center functionality, none of which are big selling points of the Wii. On the other hand, people interested only in the unique controller and game lineup on the Wii wouldn't give the 360 any serious thought.

      Nintendo's spent quite a bit of energy trying to distance itself from direct competition with Microsoft and Sony. In my opinion, they've succeeded. The only competition that's really there is whether you like the Sony/Microsoft style of gaming or the Wii's.

      SUVs don't compete with sports cars. People just chose which they'd rather have and then go choose from the available SUVs or the available sports cars. Nintendo is in the enviable position of having lots and lots of people chose their style, but as it turns out, they're the only company offering it.

      TW
      • Re:"This year"? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MeanderingMind (884641) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @06:49PM (#17547948) Homepage Journal
        The Wii is a competitor for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360, and here's why.

        1) Developers - Game studios only have so many resources to devote to game developement. Any that are spent on the Wii are not spent on the PS3 and Xbox 360, even if it is just a port. The cumulative effect of this is less developement for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

        2) Follow the Leader - If the Wii gains a significant lead on the other consoles in market share, this will further compound #1 due to the "Follow the Leader" syndrome for game developement. While a lot of games for the PS1 and PS2 were very crappy, having that kind of third party support is any console manufacturer's dream. Stealing that dream hurts the PS3 and Xbox 360.

        3) Hardcore - Even though the Wii and DS have been designed to be friendlier systems, there is definately a strong appeal for many hardcore gamers. While hardcore gamers often spend much more money on video games and are thus very likely to own multiple systems, having any portion of said funds diverted to the Wii places it in competition.

        4) Casual Understanding - The nerdy, informed, and hardcore may know all about Nintendo's "Blue Ocean" strategy, but more people only know it's a game system, and so are the PS3 and Xbox 360. They aren't aware Nintendo is in a different market, because for them there is only one market.

        5) Next Time Gadget - There will be another console generation, and it's pretty clear that barring unthinkable and unpredictable disasters Nintendo will be there. As much as they are competing for a place in this console generation, all of the big three are competing for pole position in the next generation. While not determinate, being the incumbent from the last generation is a significant advantage.

        This is not to say that they are truly in direct competition. A better analogy is to say that Nintendo is targeting an entire pie, while Sony and Microsoft are aimed at a smaller piece. To an extent there is conflict, but Nintendo will be just as happy to have the 50-60% of the pie that Microsoft and Sony are only barely interested in.
  • *shrug* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:10PM (#17546144) Homepage Journal
    You don't have to be Kreskin to read the writing on the wall.

    The plain and simple fact is that the Wii is doing spectacularly well for itself while the PS3 is receiving a slightly less enthusiastic reception. Only an idiot would turn around and say, "Yeah, we think Sony is going to turn things around and kick our asses."

    Instead, they're going to fuel the flames by pointing to their indirect competitor over there. Hopefully at the expense of their biggest competition. Then Microsoft will ride the coattails of the Wii's success by repeating the "Wii60 For the Win!" jingle. A large portion of gamers already think they need both consoles, so why not go with it?
    • by Necroman (61604)
      Exactly. I wish I had mod points to get you up to 5, but alas, I'll just compliment you instead.

      I actually was going to post near exactly what you wrote, but instead, I'll just reaffirm your statement.
    • It's pretty clever psy-ops when you think about it. Whether or not the Wii is actually doing better than the PS3 doesn't matter. What matters is the perception that it is. Throw in a press conference where you casually say that the company that handed you your ass last generation is now irrelevant, and bingo, you've got Sony scrambling around looking for their dick. Brilliant.
    • Re:*shrug* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:24PM (#17546432)
      I remember reading a quote on a blog which essentially said "The PS3 and XBox 360 can coexist with the Wii but not with eachother" which I believe is somewhat true; if the Wii sells remarkably well it will impact sales of the XBox 360 and PS3, but its impact will be far smaller than if either of the other systems becomes remarkably popular. Now I suspect that by dismissing the PS3 Microsoft aims to ensure that the populatity of the Wii60 is greater than the popularity of the PSWii.
  • Intriguing. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CDarklock (869868) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:10PM (#17546146) Homepage Journal
    I've been pretty impressed by what I hear about the Wii, but I wouldn't consider it a bigger threat than Sony. From where I sit, it looks like Nintendo are perfectly content to do lots of business without being the market leaders - but Sony seem very fixated on the "being number one" mentality. I'd be inclined to promote Nintendo's competition factor, but I wouldn't start counting them as a threat (they don't seem to feel any need to eliminate competitors), and I think it's a BIG mistake to count Sony out as a threat.

    Of course, this could just be a bluff to drive Sony insane with the idea that they aren't even relevant to us anymore.
    • by Babbster (107076)
      Nintendo simply tries to project the image you describe, whether or not its true, and you've bought into it. The real truth is that, like any other corporation, nothing would make Nintendo happier than dominating the console market and driving the gaming divisions of their competitors out of the business. What, you think they don't remember how great it was when the word "Nintendo" was a synonym for videogames?

      Just because they're not trying to outmuscle PS3 and 360 in terms of graphics, don't mistake
    • by Rimbo (139781)

      Of course, this could just be a bluff to drive Sony insane with the idea that they aren't even relevant to us anymore.

      ...or a deliberate attempt to bury the last nail in the PS3's coffin.

      Remember the "Cola Wars" back in the 80's? OK, maybe you're not old enough, but there was a vicious campaign -- starting with The Pepsi Challenge -- between Coke and Pepsi. In the end, sales of both shot sky-high, and competing products -- Dr. Pepper, Shasta, Tab, RC, etc -- got drowned out in all the noise. Both compan

      • by CDarklock (869868)
        > OK, maybe you're not old enough

        Pfft, I miss Crystal Pepsi *and* preferred new Coke to classic. The market failed me.

        I think the PS3 faces a few problems. First, they have this bundled Blu-Ray thing which is by no means a must-buy for everyone, but which every PS3 owner... well, must buy. Second, largely because of the first factor, their price point is much higher. Third, the architecture is simply less convenient for developers; it's not similar enough to the PS2 that you get a leg-up from history, an
    • by danpsmith (922127)

      I'd be inclined to promote Nintendo's competition factor, but I wouldn't start counting them as a threat (they don't seem to feel any need to eliminate competitors), and I think it's a BIG mistake to count Sony out as a threat.

      It seems to me that this stems from the fact that they are the only game console maker that has been in the business so long. They've seen competition change, come and go. Sega used to be a major competitor for Nintendo dollar, and now their games peacefully co-exist on the same se

      • by CDarklock (869868)
        > The only way to achieve these goals and increase
        > marketshare is to be innovative and look at the
        > market's unfulfilled potential.

        Absolutely. But this is just so backwards of Sony and Microsoft; if you have other business for fallback, you have room to take much bigger and bolder risks. But they don't! They just incrementally improve to get a little more here and a little more there, while Nintendo is left to make the big leaps that change the way we think about games.

        There are basically two ways
  • Same vs. Different (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QueePWNzor (1044224) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:11PM (#17546176) Journal
    The PS3 has the same controls/game style as the XboX, and the XboX is cheaper and more readily availibe. It has almost all the features, too. So I wouldn't think that would be serious competition. The Wii, on the other hand, is so distinct and plain-fun, Microsoft faces losing old-style gamers to the new Wii-style of gaming. I predict Microsoft will get a grip on the button-mashers, but still lose market share because the Wii is, frankly, more fun. It must be embarassing, too. Losing market share to something called the Wii...
    • It has almost all the features, too.

      However, the features that it is missing are pretty key. Next generation DVDs, media readers, and something that people are too quick to overlook - a much better form factor.

      It just plain looks better, there's no DVD tray, and there's no power brick. It's also a lot quieter. These are some things people look when buying brand A over brand B. Many people pay for quality, and the PS3 exudes more quality than the XBox 360.

      • by 7Prime (871679)

        Are you kidding me? At first, yes, I thought the PS3 looked cool, but Nintendo and Microsoft have come up with some very ELEGENT looking consoles. The PS3 doesn't scream quality, it simply screams for attention. Compared to the 360 and Wii, the PS3 looks clunky and frivilous. The curved surfaces are nice enough, but then there's the edges, which are blocky and off-putting. We are entering a renniassance of the "form follows function" mentality. The iPod, DS, Wii, and 360 all have taken similar design trends

    • by 7Prime (871679)
      It must be embarassing, too. Losing market share to something called the Wii...
      Hey, at least the device doesn't have the Urge to Squirt.
  • by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:18PM (#17546318) Journal
    Here is Sony's plan to dominate the Game Console market:
    1. Wait for Blu-Ray to plow HD-DVD in this round of 'format wars'.
    2. Wait for all of the games to come out that will make people want to pay the extra money for a PS3 vs an XBox.
    3. Don't stand where the comet is assumed to strike oil (/salute Scott Adams).

    You don't need netcraft to tell you the PS3 is essentially stillborn. Their sales are 50% lower than expected [punchjump.com]. Right now Microsoft is beating Sony at it's own game (high end console for hardcore gamers) and Nintendo is running unopposed in it's niche (middle-end console for casual gamers).

    • by joe 155 (937621)
      I would say that whilst Ninty is doing a good job of picking up first time and casual gamers (after playing on my wii my mum wanted to buy one and my girlfriends dad said he wanted one) they can still hold the more harcore gamers, thats why I've got one. Being a hardcore gamer isn't all about saying "I must have the biggest numbers which can't be used for comparison next to aspects of my console - 3Ghz!!! w00t!". I would say that because real hardcore is about enjoying games as a way to have fun and as an e
    • by ivan256 (17499) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:37PM (#17546694)
      Oh how quickly people forget. Remember the 360 launch? It sucked. Hard. The sales pace made the PS3 look like a champ.

      Am I saying this means Sony is going to win? No. But it is way too early to call this. What I will say though, is that if Microsoft writes off Sony at this point, Sony is going to eat their lunch and Microsoft will end up in third place again. Sony has far too much in terms of resources to be written off this early in the game. Microsoft isn't used to playing with people its own size.

      Wait a year, then we'll have a reasonable idea of who might win.

      Also, I think your point #1 is wrong. The PS3 is supposed to be what plows HD-DVD into the ground. They're not counting on Blu-Ray to make the PS3 successful. It's the other way around. Blu-Ray can fail without the PS3 failing.
      • by sehryan (412731) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:55PM (#17547032)
        "Blu-Ray can fail without the PS3 failing."

        Sort of, but it would be a huge blow to the PS3. Sony was counting on the PS3 to drive Blu-Ray into homes. Incorporating Blu-Ray into the PS3 was the primary reason Sony was having in getting their product to market. Blu-Ray is one of the primary reasons the PS3 costs $600 instead of something more competitive, or, it is the primary reason Sony is losing money on every PS3.

        If Blu-Ray fails, it will be because of a lack of market penetration. And if Blu-Ray doesn't have a large user base, then that directly correlates to the PS3 not having a large user base.
        • by ivan256 (17499)
          Sony was counting on the PS3 to drive Blu-Ray into homes. Incorporating Blu-Ray into the PS3 was the primary reason Sony was having in getting their product to market.

          Yes, but driving Blu-Ray into homes won't guarantee it's success. Look at how many people had DiVX capable DVD players, and that still failed horribly.

          If Blu-Ray fails, it will be because of a lack of market penetration.

          Here I think you are wrong. I think that Blu-Ray could fail for plenty of other reasons, and I think that the most likely rea
      • by Vellmont (569020) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @06:36PM (#17547748)

        Oh how quickly people forget. Remember the 360 launch? It sucked. Hard. The sales pace made the PS3 look like a champ.

        I don't know anything about the 360 launch, but there's a big difference between now and a year ago. A year ago the 360 was the only next-gen console on the market. Not having a great launch didn't matter as much since what are the people hungering for a new console going to do? They either already own the PS2, or have a XBox. In short, Microsoft doesn't lose much from a poor launch.

        A year later and a PS3 launch failure hurts Sony a LOT more. Why? Because all three consoles next-gen consoles are now out, so Sony has more competition to worry about. Can't get/afford a PS3? Well the XBOX 360 is available, a good replacement for the PS3 (with the promise of a second generation of games coming out for it too). Or maybe you have the XBox and are looking for something new.. well, the Wii is real cheap, and it's fun and different than the XBox.

        But it is way too early to call this. What I will say though, is that if Microsoft writes off Sony at this point, Sony is going to eat their lunch and Microsoft will end up in third place again.

        Sure, maybe Sony will perform some miracle comeback and sweep the competition. But if this were a baseball game, the score would be 5-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Unless Microsoft really screws up, it's looking like Sony is going to lose this game.

        I also wouldn't take what Bill Gates says to the press as a reflection of what he believes. If you were him, wouldn't you try to say Sony has already lost (and hopefully discourage people from buying PS3s)?
      • by MeanderingMind (884641) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @07:14PM (#17548314) Homepage Journal
        You are right that it is way too early to call this, I think a lot of people forget that however poorly things are going for Sony now, they can recover and still give a strong showing this generation.

        However, the Xbox360 launch had several characteristics I think are important to note.

        1) Preorders were not filled out until Spring. It was completely impossible to get an Xbox360 from an actual store even into March.
        2) There were many PS3/Revolution hold outs at the time, who put off buying a 360 assuming that the PS3 would be significantly and undeniably better in every way, or that the Revolution would simply be amazing. There was a spike in 360 sales during the summer following E3.

        Regardless, the Xbox 360 launch was bumpy, but it had the grace that there was no competition to capitalize on the blunders. This is not true now, and will make the ordeal harder (but not impossible) for Sony.
      • by ad0gg (594412)
        Oh how quickly people forget. Remember the 360 launch? It sucked. Hard.

        By sucking hard, you mean it was sold out and not on stores shelves till early summer/late spring 06. I can go down to the bestbuy and buy a ps3 right now. I tried to buy wii, and they told me good luck even though they get a shipment in every week. Scalpers camp the retailers and ebay the wiis for double the price. You can get a ps3 at cost on ebay.

      • by prockcore (543967)
        The sales pace made the PS3 look like a champ.


        Except that it didn't.

        According to NPD's US numbers: Sony shipped 197,000 PS3s at launch. In contrast, Microsoft shipped 326,000 xboxes at launch.

        The 360's sales pace has far outperformed the PS3.
        • by ivan256 (17499)
          If you compare only day 1, you're right. If you compare the first six weeks, you're wrong.

          Microsoft didn't hit 1,000,000 in sales until the end of February. Sony hit 1,000,000 at the end of December. The 360 launched earlier in the year than the PS3 did.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by prockcore (543967)
            If you compare only day 1, you're right. If you compare the first six weeks, you're wrong.

            Microsoft didn't hit 1,000,000 in sales until the end of February


            No. I was comparing November numbers, not day 1. Microsoft hit 1 million well before february. In fact, MS sold 2.5 million by the end of february according to NPD.
            • by ivan256 (17499)
              Link please? The report I have says they didn't even ship a million units until February.
      • by Rycross (836649)
        No the 360 launch was a lot better than this. At this time last year, 360s were still unavailable. PS3 is currently doing poorly. Despite unit shortages, they're meeting demand, and this early in the console lifetime thats a bad thing.

        PS3 doesn't have any killer apps right now. Of the games out, the only one I hear about is Resistance, and even then its not a must have title. We'll have to wait and see what kind of exclusives Sony can pull out. MGS4 and FFXIII will move units, I'm sure.
        • by 7Prime (871679)

          Neither Square nor Kojami have proven to be especially loyal to any one company (Square, especially, which already seems to be jumping ship). I'm just waiting for the day, 6 months down the line, when Square announces that they've been working on a 360 version of FF13. It would simply be Final Fantasy 7 all over again, with previews and press releases about it's exclusivity on the N64, only to freak out when Nintendo chose the wrong media format (sound familiar?) and switch providers.

          Think about it, it wo

          • by Rycross (836649)
            Most games are more art and design than code. You usually have at least a 2 to 1 ratio of artists to developers these days, I believe.

            Given the nature of Final Fantasy (lots of cutscenes, beautiful graphics, needs more space), I'd imagine that PS3 is the more natural platform. At least that would follow the N64->Playstation pattern, since they left the N64 platform due to a lack of space.

            DQ is bigger in Japan, though, and thats going to the DS. It'll be interesting to see if rpg developers jump ship o
            • by 7Prime (871679)

              Well, FF12 was still only one disc (surprisingly), and we went up to four discs (FF8 & FF9), and noone really had any complaints at all about that (actually, I sorta miss the multi-disc days). FF13, even being HD, I can't imagine being more than 2 or 3 times the size of FF12. We've already started seeing 2DVD RPGs... even though I believe most of them to be due to incredibly bad organization on the part of the developer. Why the hell is Grandia III on 2 DVDs, when it has practically NO FMVs, while FF12

      • Dude, Dragon Quest 9 is a DS exclusive. Sony is shitting bricks.

        Also, I think your point #1 is wrong. The PS3 is supposed to be what plows HD-DVD into the ground. They're not counting on Blu-Ray to make the PS3 successful. It's the other way around. Blu-Ray can fail without the PS3 failing.

        You are forgetting something here. If the PS3 succeeds and Blu-ray fails, Sony is in trouble, because the huge subsidies for each PS3 sale were not made for the sake of game sales alone. If they were, the PS3 would be bet
        • by ivan256 (17499)
          the huge subsidies for each PS3 sale were not made for the sake of game sales alone. If they were, the PS3 would be better priced at $400. If Blu-Ray fails, Sony will have trouble recouping the cost of their massive PS3 subsidy.

          I don't buy this. BluRay drives won't be expensive to produce for very long. Within a 18 months, BluRay readers will be in the $40-$50 range just like DVD drives were 18 months after they were released at $500 (Yes, BluRay drives only cost $500... That's for a burner). Sony would hav
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jstomel (985001)
      Actually, Sony's strategy is fairly clever. I'm not sure it will work, but it is clever. The way I see it is thus:
      1)Microsoft gives you the option of adding on HD-DVD for more money. Most people are probably fine paying less and not getting HD. Soney doesn't give you that option. You want a PS3? You get a BR player.
      2)Since they have one anyway (wanted or not) PS3 owners buy BR disks rather than conventional DVDs (after all, they paid for it, why not use it).
      3)Forced early adoption of BR by gamers r
      • The flaw in their logic is here:

        2)Since they have one anyway (wanted or not) PS3 owners buy BR disks rather than conventional DVDs (after all, they paid for it, why not use it).

        To 90%+ of consumers, a Bluray disc and DVD disc are pretty much the same thing. Why would they spend 50% more money for the Bluray disc when a DVD can be had for less money? Sony is yelling "HD! 1080p!" at the top of their lungs, but it's mostly falling on deaf ears.

        I remember when DVDs came out. The early adopters and videophiles g

  • by winningham.2 (666628) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:19PM (#17546356)
    Thats great Bill, but tell us something Wii didn't know.
  • So, Mr. Gates, when do you plan to drop the price on the xBox 360 console to below $250 USD to compete against Nintendo?
    • by ivan256 (17499)
      Word is that they plan to add an HDMI port and a larger hard drive and keep the price the same instead of dropping the price.

      Perhaps the current high end 360 will become the "core" though? Include a game like Nintendo does? Who knows. However you slice it, don't expect the price to change, only what comes in the box.
      • by creimer (824291)
        Only Apple changes what's in the box while keeping the same price. If Microsoft was doing the same thing, Windows Vista would cost the same as Windows XP. ;)
      • by 7Prime (871679)
        I'm not up to date on what Microsoft is rumored to be up to, but doesn't this contradict Bill's current statement? Adding an HDMI port and harddrive capacity, while keeping the price the same, would ONLY compete with Sony, as it would only interest die-hard videophyles. Microsoft were (moderately) intelligent this time around, in that they added HD because they realized it could be a major draw down the line, but they didn't stake their entire wellbeing on it. If anything, Sony's current situation shows tha
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ivan256 (17499)
          Adding an HDMI port and harddrive capacity, while keeping the price the same, would ONLY compete with Sony, as it would only interest die-hard videophyles.

          Implementation of such a hardware change would have started many months ago. Back when Nintendo still didn't register on Microsoft's radar.

          The incentives to add HDMI (which costs a pretty penny, mind you)

          It's only expensive because of the DRM, and I believe HDCP is already implemented inside the graphics chip for the 360 anyway... This means that the sign
  • What's the context? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hal2814 (725639) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:23PM (#17546404)
    Can't watch the clip at work. What is the context of this remark? Everyone is assuming this is some sort of 360 vs. Wii vs. PS3 context but I wonder if Gates isn't more concerned with the upcoming support of gaming on the Zune vs. the very well entrenched Game Boy line than he is with the success or failure of the 360.
  • by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:24PM (#17546430)
    In terms of market share, looking solely at the new generation of home consoles atleast. Nintendo is survivor. At just over 117 years old and consistently generating net revenue, Nintendo has the kind of financial longevity Sony aspires to and the market experience Microsoft admires. Each of the Big Three have aspects that have them firmly cemented in the market, but Nintendo and Microsoft have real potential for market gain; Sony (without even considering it's pr flops) doesn't have anywhere to go but down in this generation. Sony indicates this is ok with them as "the industy is growing and the tide raises all boats." Although, If I were a Sony, investor...well, I wouldn't be soon. But what does Nintendo have that Microsoft thinks makes it it's biggest competition?

    Japan.

    Microsoft has been making substantial attempts to push it's X-box 360 in Japan, which it is sevearly deficient in. Latest word indicates Nintendo is the force to contend with in Japan, with the Wii beating out Sony's machine. Microsoft is in a position to ride the wave of the Wii's big splash down in Japan by touting itself as the true 'middle of the road' best deal console. Microsoft realises if it wants to succeed in Japan, it's not the hardware, it's the games; specifically Japanese games. They'll face major competition as they try to sweep up Japanese developers with Nintendo looking for the same.
  • by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:30PM (#17546546) Homepage
    Japan plays a large part in whether a system becomes successfull or not...

    1. Nintendo has (for the most part) enjoyed good success in japan
    2. The DS and DS lite are a legal drug in japan
    3. The original Xbox did bad in japan, and one couldn't reasonably expect the 360 to do differently there
    4. The 360 definately has an american "feel" to it, if you know what I mean. I don't mean it's cheap or anything, what I mean is by the way the console itself looks and controls, and by the way the interface looks and controls, and by the FEELING of the games...I dunno, it just seems more like a console that is aimed at american gamers moreso than anyone else.
    5. Microsoft is an american company, and it's no secret that american culture is both loved and hated in japan.
    6. Nintendo is japanese in it's origins...kinda like buying a book from a local mom-and-pop rather than amazon.

    various other reasons as well...keep in mind these are only my opinions and from what I have seen...I've been gaming since the commodore 64 days, so I figure my opinion has to have at least SOME kind of value, right? Or not...whatever. Suffice it to say, these are my opinions and nothing more. Dissect them to your heart's content.
    • Japan loves RPGs (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Prien715 (251944)
      In order for any console to succeed in Japan, it needs to have the kind of games the Japanese play. Madden just won't sell, nor will Halo. (most of the people I know, bought their Xbox for Halo.)

      However, Blue Dragon may seems to be having an impact. According to this article [risingsunofnihon.com], it sold 80K copies in its first week and increased XBox360 sales over 500% that week vs the previous week. It's not that the XBox is American, it's that the XBox has Halo and the PS2 had Final Fantasy.
      • and the PS2 had Final Fantasy. ... and the PS3 has Final Fantasy (the MAIN series, not spinoffs), which pretty much means that it can't be a failure, no matter how badly some people want it to be one. I think people underestimate how big of a force FF is.
        • by ProppaT (557551)
          For histories sake:

          Square produced for the NES and helped solidify Nintendo's winning lead with the SNES, giving Nintendo 2 generations of dominance. Square was poised to release FFVII on the N64. After promising this, even after the release of the N64, Square pulled away and put it out on the Playstation. In Japan, Sony was really struggling to hold market share against Sega. Sony was the underdog of this generation and this decision pretty much gave Sony the edge they needed to win the generation. Th
          • by 7Prime (871679)

            Oh, I wouldn't doubt it in the least... in fact, I'm just sitting around waiting for a 360 announcement of FF13. The way I see it, it's pretty much inevitable.

            Basically, where Square goes, Japan will follow, including the rest of the RPG-centered developers. They know that. The 360 is cheaper, which means that if it is successful, Square stand to sell a lot more units of their games. Final Fantasy is absolutely huge in the US, as well, which looks to be going totally 360. They don't have a lot to lose by

            • by ProppaT (557551)
              So, they pissed of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who bought an N64 at launch in anticipation of FFVII, yet you don't think they'd repeat history with FFXII?

              If FFXII doesn't switch, they can't/won't switch FFXIII...simply because they'd be splitting a series across multiple systems in the same generation. That would cause more of a backlash than just switching consoles, imo.
    • by kabocox (199019)
      1. Nintendo has (for the most part) enjoyed good success in japan
      5. Microsoft is an american company, and it's no secret that american culture is both loved and hated in japan.
      6. Nintendo is japanese in it's origins...kinda like buying a book from a local mom-and-pop rather than amazon.


      This feels so odd to me actually thinking about that. I don't even think of Nintendo or Sony as "foreign" companies. They are as part of my US culture as McDonalds, Dr. Pepper, Walmart and made in China. I just don't even thi
      • by Pojut (1027544)
        True, but you aren't japanese. Anyone from anywhere int he world other than here (usa) can tell you that the gaming culture can be quite different in other countries (for the record, I've never been to japan...just making an uninformed guess here)
        • by kabocox (199019)
          True, but you aren't japanese. Anyone from anywhere int he world other than here (usa) can tell you that the gaming culture can be quite different in other countries (for the record, I've never been to japan...just making an uninformed guess here)

          I grew up with video games and would have been classed as a hard core gamer growing up though I considered myself and my family more as causal gamers more than anything. We only rented one game every other weekend. We only bought 2-3 games on Christmas and maybe 1
          • by jackbird (721605)
            We've started the New Year off with DDR, and we take turns playing after I get off from work until about 7:00 when we switch to RPGs.

            Do your kids eat, or are they LiIon models that plug into the wall overnight?

            • by kabocox (199019)
              We've started the New Year off with DDR, and we take turns playing after I get off from work until about 7:00 when we switch to RPGs.
              Do your kids eat, or are they LiIon models that plug into the wall overnight?


              LiIon would only slow my kids down. My kid off something stronger than fusion: pasta, hamburger helper, or corndogs. DDR is also dinner time entertainment and keeping the kids out of mom's hair while food is being fixed. We only have one pad so only one person isn't eating at any given time. I grew up
          • by Pojut (1027544)
            While 10 years ago I would disagree with you that alot of families are like that, as the "older gaming generation" gets older and older, I think families like yours will begin becoming more and more commonplace...I've been gaming since the commodore 64 days, and I can assure you that my kids will be shown what I grew up with. Gaming has done a lot for my life...MANY good memories...playing punch out, against my bro with ice hockey....a little later all-night games of NBA jam and street fighter 2...LAN part
        • for the record, I've never been to japan ...just making an uninformed guess here

          Welcome to Slashdot! You'll fit right in.

    • by carlivar (119811)
      5. Microsoft is an american company, and it's no secret that american culture is both loved and hated in japan.

      Right. Japanese always favor Japanese companies, either out of national pride or economic reasons (given mostly equal products). Americans do not favor American companies in the same way, unfortunately. Now I'm not advocating jingoism, but I've always been under the impression that like voting, the most impact you make with the dollars you spend are those spent close to home.

      Also, American cars are

      • by falsified (638041)
        I'd buy Toyota. Most Toyotas (I believe Honda is this way too) offered for sale in the USA are actually made in the USA. Most Chevys, etc are mostly made either in Mexico or Canada. I don't really care who the hell gets the profit; I care about who has the job.
      • by Jesterboy (106813) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @08:55PM (#17549678)
        I don't get where this perceived foreign discrimination in Japanese buying habbits comes from. Having spent a lot of time in Japan, I can tell you that it's patently not the case. Furthermore, it often operates in the opposite direction: Japanese consumers find American products cooler than Japanese ones, when they're practical. You'll see more iPods than any other music player nowadays, there's Coca-cola in every vending machine, and you'd be hard pressed to find a McDonald's that isn't packed during mealtimes.

        A case that is always trotted out is American cars; why don't the Japanese buy them? It's pretty simple, really: they are not feasible in Japan. Have you ever been on a street in a major area of Tokyo? Except for major thoroughfares, most roads are a single lane, with a small green strip marked for pedestrians; these single lanes are only a bit bigger than half a lane on a standard American side street. It doesn't matter if America is making the best cars in the world; if it doesn't fit on the road, it's worthless. Something people usually ignore is the sales of other foreign auto manufacturers in Japan; you won't have any trouble at all finding a Mercedes Benz, a Volkswagen, a Volvo, a BWM, or a Mini in Japan. It's a hard pill to swallow, but it's true: our product is inferior; it ignores the conditions of the market.

        Another case is the XBox; it had a fundamental design flaw in that there was no battery to maintain clock time, so if there was a power outtage or it was unplugged, it lost it's date/time settings. Not a big deal, right? Who unplugs their consoles when they're not in use? The Japanese do: they do this with most appliances to save electricity, and usually store video game consoles away when they're not being played. What seems to be a small issue suddenly becomes incredibly frustrating; how would you like it if everytime you want to play a game, an "Enter the date and time" screen pops up?

        If American companies are going to become internationally viable, they have to get over this idea that we're the only ones in the world. We need to continue to innovate, even if we are already the leader in a field. We need to be more culturally understanding of other nations, and not try to force our mindset on them just because it works for us. Actually, maybe our overall foreign policy should incroporate these ideas too. ^_^
        • by carlivar (119811)
          You make some good points. I was not aware of the Xbox battery issue. That sounds like quite a big flaw.

          Maybe I'm too much of a gearhead and I focus on cars too much. Still, our massive trade deficit is depressing.

          I do disagree on the Japanese car versus road size issue. Europe has the same problem but American cars do okay there (not great, but okay).

          Regarding jobs (other comment)... well, I for one welcome our Japanese overlords. :) That's just how it seems to me when people say "Joe Assembly Line w

          • by GregWebb (26123)
            US car companies do well in Europe with locally designed vehicles though.

            GM? Vauxhall / Opel and 'Chevrolet' (Daewoo), completely different model range.
            Ford? Still Ford, but the only shared lines is the Ranger.
            Chrysler? Tiny player over here. Jeeps sell but that's about it.

            US cars emphatically do _not_ sell well in Europe. Few particularly bother even trying.
    • by octal666 (668007)
      I don't think it is just that. I have no inside of the japanese market, but from what I see, there are a large load of games that never come out of japan, I'm not talking about RPGs, I'm talking about all the manga/anime franchises that have many followers in Japan and almost none outside, or games targeted for the japanese market. Just take a look at all the games launched in Japan for the DS that don't come out, or just come out if they see they are being imported (Osu Tatakae Ouendam / Elite Beat Agents,
    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      "Japan plays a large part in whether a system becomes successfull or not..."

      Maybe 20 years ago, but nowadays Japan is really just another Europe. The market you want to score nowadays is the huge North American one. This is why we see things like the Nintendo DS being released on this side of the Pacific first (bundled with a Metroid demo... Metroid:North America::Dragon Quest:Japan).

      Nintendo has kept their focus on North America since Donkey Kong (written to increase cabinet sales in North America), it w
  • by ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @06:24PM (#17547540)

    The Xbox 360 and the Wii have completely different paradigms. The Xbox 360 is about ultra realistic graphics, fast paced driving and brutal violence in which strangers are humiliated through Xbox Live. The Wii is about fun games that often can involve friends and family. One is not better than the other, they are simply very different. Which is better: a car or a sheep? On the other hand, the PS3 and Xbox 360 are trying to fill the same purpose. Unless you feel the SIXAXIS feature of the PS3 is equivalent to the Wiimote's functionality.

    Sony thought the console market was theirs. They believed they owned it. They felt that they could abuse the loyalty of the gamer market by winning the high definition video disc market on the backs of their customers. They think that the average Sony customer will work their fingers to the bone to buy their console at its outrageous price. Remember, the PS2 started at a price of $300. Since the PS3 is $600, will the PS4 be $900 or $1200? Oddly enough, in the upper middle class area in which I live, the PS3s are not flying off the shelves.

    • by rblum (211213)

      The Xbox 360 is about ultra realistic graphics, fast paced driving and brutal violence in which strangers are humiliated through Xbox Live

      You mean, like Rockstar's Table Tennis, Viva Pinata, Marble Blast, Uno, ... ?

      While the "family friendly" Wii has (a rather brutal) RayMan, Red Steel, Call Of Duty... ?

      The Wii is about accessibility first, not about being family friendly. (It's just that the people who demand accessibility don't play too many of the gore-y titles)

    • They're not directly competitive products, but I think Gates is smart in identifying the Wii as a market-changer. The comparison isn't between cars and sheep, it's between mid and high end cars and a new economy model. When all you can buy is a sedan, the difference between Ford and GM products is relevent. But when all you need is an econo-box, and Hyundai suddenly starts appearing on every street corner, the Toyota dealers start looking around nervously.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      The Xbox 360 is about ultra realistic graphics, fast paced driving and brutal violence in which strangers are humiliated through Xbox Live. The Wii is about fun games that often can involve friends and family. One is not better than the other, they are simply very different. Which is better: a car or a sheep?

      From that context I guess the car is for "fast paces driving and brutal violence", and the sheep is for "fun games that often can involve friends and family".

      You sick bastard.
    • by animaal (183055)

      Which is better: a car or a sheep?
      The sheep is better, of course. I don't know of any state in which it's legal to marry your car. Not even Colorado.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @06:47PM (#17547922) Homepage Journal
    and he apparently has noticed that while he was fighting head-to-head with Sony's PS3, Nintendo's Wii embraced and extended themselves and created a new battlefield - old people, women, and girls - while also winning over most of the "market" of 13-35 year old males traditionally thought of as the focus.

    That plus the Nintendo Wii is selling way more consoles and games in Japan, according to an article I just read in the New York Times [nytimes.com] in the tech section.
  • The mental image of Gates pegging [wikipedia.org] Nintendo is one I didn't need...

    • by Mr. Hankey (95668)
      Perhaps, but there is an Age of Empires game as well as a MechAssault game on the DS already. Halo may be unlikely, since it's a franchise whose marketing was closely coupled to the Xbox, but who knows what could happen in the future.
  • Clearly Nintendo has an advantage with its price and controller. But that really doesn't explain the difference in enthusiasm. The one major difference is that Nintendo came out with Zelda. With a few exceptions, the other games launched on Nintendo are not worth the time and are only slightly interesting due to the control scheme. The PS3 launch titles were crap as well with the exception of Resistance: Fall of Man. But let's face it, a great game that has tons of fanboys behind it compared to a great
    • by Shados (741919)
      Except Sony cannot decide when the next final fantasy comes out or whatsnot. Zelda is Nintendo's property. Final Fantasy is SquareEnix's. SquareEnix figured the higher ammount of PS2s around, shorter time to market, etc, was a way to make more money out of the game: they were probably (most likely) right, too. I only got FFXII because it was for a console I already had, and it was around.

      The hype behind the Wii is a combination of Microsoft being unremarkable (note to the reader: this is not synonym to "
    • I haven't played a NEW FF game since FF7. I've heard good things about X, but 8 soured my interest in the entire series. However, I'm loving FFIV Advance on my DS:Lite and am looking forward to finally being able to try FF3. Square its grip on me a long time ago.
  • ...is does anybody really consider Microsoft competition? I imagine Nintendo doesn't even lose five minutes of sleep over the 360.

    The truth is, I can name about 20 great Nintendo games, and fewer than 2 great Microsoft ones.

    It's not really about the console wars. It's about who has the funnest games.

    I'm amused that any arm chair pundits would even consider Microsoft OR Sony as competition to Miyamoto. They simply aren't.

    rhY
  • Who knows what Gates is trying to accomplish by admitting this, but obviously, the statement wouldn't have been made if it didn't help microsoft. This statement only helps to legitimize the Wii as a successful console, which, at first glance, doesn't seem like something a "competitor" would want to have happen. The bottom line is, Nintendo is not Microsoft's main competition, simply because no competitor would help to legitimize his competitions accomplishments. Obviously, they don't view the Wii as much of

  • Check out The VGCharts guys number [vgcharts.org]

    Those seem to mirror what I read on other sites. Wii coming up on 3 to 1 over PS3 in units sold.

    Maybe MS is also thinking "Gee, those guys who put the fun in the box are doing pretty good.. aren't these supposed to be fun?!?"

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