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PS2 Vs. X-Box: Winner Emerging? 949

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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  • economic climate.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bje2 ( 533276 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:27AM (#3316140)
    let's not forget that the PS2 debuted before the current downswing in the economy...back then ther was a virtual orgy of consumer spending going on compared to now....the X-box entered the market at a time where consumer confidence and retail spending were both at a very low point...

    that said, i have a PS2 and love there anything better then taking out your agressions and leftover frustration from work then with a good game of Grand Theft Auto 3???
  • Slowing Orders (Score:3, Informative)

    by wbtittle ( 456702 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:27AM (#3316146) Homepage
    A supplier of x-box parts recently told me that Micosoft has shut off their orders for the time being. Apparently they have too much inventory right now.

  • by ShadeEagle ( 153172 ) < minus cat> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:31AM (#3316174) Journal
    Yes. Nearly every console loses money. It's the licencing for the software that makes the company money.
  • by Troed ( 102527 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:36AM (#3316240) Homepage Journal
    Nintendo has always made money on the hardware though, and still are with the Gamecube. They don't really care if they aren't #1 (like with the N64) - they still make loads of money.

  • Makes sense to me (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) <> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:43AM (#3316302) Homepage
    Good original games on the Xbox: Halo, Dead or Alive 3 (Personally, I thought it was Dead or Alive 2 with a bad controller and no costumes, but that's me).

    Remade games for the Xbox that have been out for the Playstation 2 for at least 6 months: Genmu Onimusha, Silent Hill 2

    Good games for the Playstation 2: Maximo, Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2, Grand Theft Auto 3, Rez, Etc.

    Advantage: Playstation 2

    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)

    Advantage: Playstation 2

    Online games on the Xbox:
    Halo (need a router hack),
    Coming? Um...

    Online games from Playstation 2:
    Tony Hawk 3 (needs USB ethernet hack), Final Fantasy XI (will be supported by upcoming ethernet/hard drive kit), Everquest (same), Star Wars Galaxies (same)

    Advantage: Playstation 2

    Graphical ability:

    Xbox: Nvidia chip with Intel Processor, 64 MB RAM

    Playstation 2: Emotion chip, 8 MB RAM, "jaggies"

    Advantage: Xbox

    Storage system:

    Xbox: Hard drive

    Playstation 2: Expensive memory cards - it remains to be seen if upcoming hard drive upgrade will allow game saves/memory card copies to HDD. (Personally, I hope so).

    Advantage: Xbox

    DVD Playback:

    Xbox: Requires purchase of $20-$30 remote control.

    PS2: Remote control optional.

    Advantage: PS2


    PS2 has a bigger games library (not including PSOne games for backwards compatibility). It is "truly" online (USB ethernet) now, and will be supported native TCP/IP for broadband/PPP dialups with modem shortly. Major online games supported.

    What can Microsoft do:

    1. Drop price - this will only help sell more units.

    2. Better games - crucial. Too many games for the Xbox (Blood Wake) seem good ideas, but are terrible execution. MS would be good to go to developers making Xbox games, look at the "final release", then say "Great. Here's some more money - spend another 3 months polishing it so we don't have good games, we have great games."

    3. Strategic partners: I don't care what the fuck people say about "Square's making Final Fantasy for the Xbox", I don't believe it. I see some console support from the Japanese developers, but MS needs to do better. The big RPG for the Xbox is Morrowind - a winner to be sure - but it will hardly drive huge purchases since that game is coming out for the PC at the same time.

    The best thing MS could do is go to Sega and make a deal to remake games for the Xbox - Sakura Taisen (and bring it the hell to North America!), Panzer Dragoon Saga (which evidently a "sequel" is coming to the Xbox, but the original now would help jump start things). Perhaps even coming up with some sort of generic Sega Saturn emulator system and license it from Sega - this would give a bigger backlot of games.

    Either way, MS is still in a good position. They have cash. They've done well in North America up until now. Basically, all of the hard core gamer geeks have an Xbox, and now they need the "mainstream" to ditch their PS2's and go to the Xbox.

    Just remember the rule of Microsoft:

    Version 1.0: Sucks, Version 2.0: Sucks, Version 3.0: Works, Version 4.0: Sucks, pulled from market, never talked about, Version 5.0: Works well enough, and throwing money at people kicks others out of the market.

    Of course, I could be wrong about all of this.
  • Re:M$ Shot Own Foot (Score:2, Informative)

    by pjkacmar ( 556653 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:45AM (#3316323)
    And that's why they released a smaller controller in Japan? You might have missed previous [] mention of this.

    If you compare the same game on the PS2 and the Xbox, you can often tell that it looks better on the Xbox due to the Xbox's power.
  • by Frobozz0 ( 247160 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:11AM (#3316564)

    I agree that the launches of PS1 and PS2 were less than stellar, but they were decent. They weren't as bad as X-Box which has _no_ killer apps. None. Not a single one. Halo is getting there, but as usual Microsoft has no concept of branding... they have no lovable characters and no memorable ones. PS1/PS2 do.

    I dont' think the PS2's graphics are bad, either. I think they're amazing. I have a ton of games and have YET to be dissapointed. They're not flat at all. Don't know where you got that one. To be honest, it's really easy to push a lot of polygons to a measly 768 x 480 screen... it's what you do with those polys that counts. Game consoles, and computers, are sold primarily on the quality of the game which is a direct effect of the ability of the developers to use the hardware in an efficient and clever way. Don't count on Microsoft to be efficient and clever.

    You could always use the 800 pound gorilla arguement-- that Microsoft will eventually crush the competition. But allow me to retort. Microsoft has made several blunders lately and people are sick of them. They can see through it now and are considering other options. Additionally, Sony is a 900 pound gorilla and will monkey-stomp the competition into submission. Look at the memory stick. They STILL haven't given up on it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:18AM (#3316627)
    He said UK, not USA. Stop comparing US prices as it is redundant. Here the price difference between PS2 and Xbox is massive;

    UK Pounds;

    PS2 199
    Xbox 299
    Gamecube 165

    Why is the Xbox failing here? Hmm.
  • Re:Gamecube? (Score:3, Informative)

    by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:48AM (#3316871) Homepage Journal
    The antithesis of the rat's ass - that is, er, rilly rilly kewl.

    You know, The Shiznatz!!!
  • by scenic ( 4226 ) <sujal@suja l . n et> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:49AM (#3316883) Homepage Journal
    My girlfriend just bought an XBox (and already owned a PS2, as do I). We just started playing Halo together on it, and plan on taking our game online as soon as we get decent at the game. I was curious, though, to ask people what the big fuss is over Halo.

    Before you take this as a reflexive anti-XBox rant from a PS2 owner, it's not. I really like the XBox controller, because it's designed for adult hands (like mine). It's comfortable, and difficult to mis-hit buttons. I also like Halo and am looking forward to playing it online.

    That being said, I'm not sure I understand the big to do about Halo. I'm still early in Halo, to be honest. Having played Tribes 2, Halo looks like a scaled back version of that game. The central concepts are the same, i.e. teamwork, first-person shooter (FPS), good graphics, variety of weaponry, vehicles. The differences, IMHO, definitely lean in favor of Tribes.

    For one thing, it looks like you have to fight to score. In Tribes 2 (T2) you can fight and capture the flag (or whatever the objective is), but you can also have non-combatant roles, like repairing turrets/defenses, repairing teamates (medic), set up defensive structures, etc. You get points for repairing bases that people destroy. Vehicles have non-combatant positions (this is similar in Halo).

    I really enjoyed T2 when I played regularly (I'm on a counterstrike kick right now), and it still ranks as one of the best games out there in my mind. The teamplay possibilities were incredible. Also, the map sizes, some of which were large enough to give you elbow room with 40 people playing, were incredible.

    I like Halo, but not enough to give it very high ratings. The graphics are nicer than most, it's got very nice controls (unique, too), and it's definitely got a good pace to it. But it's basically Unreal + some neat teamwork feature. What am I missing?

    Anyway, I would love to hear opinions from others that have played both, especially those that have played Halo more than I have (I'm only partway through the cooperative missions).


  • Re:No Gamecubee?! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Melantha_Bacchae ( 232402 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @01:12PM (#3317558)
    HanzoSan wrote:

    > I expect Gamecube to actually have victory,
    > so far it has the best games, the cheapest
    > price, and the best graphics
    > its not even listed?!

    Don't worry, help is on the way! Godzilla and Mothra noted that the little Gamecube was going up against nasty old Microsoft and convinced a dozen of their friends and enemies to lend a hand. The help will come this fall (November?) in the form of "Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee". Unlike most Godzilla games, this one is made by a US company (working with Toho to get it right), and will have a global release. Gamespot and others have screenshots.

    This game alone will cause me to buy a Gamecube. :)

    What happens when you embrace and extend Godzilla? Nuclear heartburn!
    See "Godzilla 2000" (released in Japan as "Godzilla 2000 Millenium") for details.
  • by Dw0rkin ( 565516 ) <cyberbob @ s u b n o v a . c om> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @01:21PM (#3317650)
    There was an interesting post at Subnova (XBox start in Europe []) on how the first three days of the XBox decided its fate. (and no, it doesen't look good, especially at that price)
  • IAAVGP (Score:3, Informative)

    by daVinci1980 ( 73174 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @01:23PM (#3317666) Homepage
    (I am a video game programmer)

    Some factoids about video games you may or may not know:

    1) A title is considered to be very well sold if it sells 200,000 copies. 1,000,000 copies is an incredible number of copies to sell.

    2) Consoles are typically sold at a loss. The real money is made in licensing fees charged to developers.

    3) Developers typically don't make money on their first title. It all goes towards the licensing fees they paid to the console manufacturer. This is why there are so many one-hit-wonder studios.

    4) X-Box may be down, but its certainly not out. Regardless of consumer notions, developers have good relations with MS. When they tell us that they're going to stick this one out, we have no reason to doubt them.

    5) People tend to complain about launch titles. Someone else mentioned this, but most launch titles are intended to be technology proof of concepts, not games. Consider the "games" that come with your geForceX for instance. (The game I got with my first geForce was Animal sanctuary. What the hell kind of game is that?)

  • by boglebud ( 251932 ) <> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @01:43PM (#3317875) Homepage
    Just for your information: Sony is several times bigger than Microsoft

    Say what?

    By Assets? Sony = $63bn / Microsoft = $60bn;
    By Market Capitalisation? Sony = $47.5bn / Microsoft = $301bn;

    As these are the 2 main criteria with which to judge corporate "size", I would say that there is not much between the two from an "assets" point of view. But typically, Market Capitalisation is the common statistic for "size"...which would weigh heavily on the side of MS, if anything (doubly so, given the dubious nature of asset-valuation methods utilised in Japan).

    And, BTW, the last Financial Times Global 500 survey of companies placed Microsoft 5th and Sony 69th.. Furthermore notable tech companies such as Texas Instruments, Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems and IBM placed higher than Sony.

    And Sony can concentrate on consumer electronics, while MS is busy competing in 100 different markets. which market exactly does Sony enjoy the same domination as MS does in the software industry? And - in fact - you will find that Sony's activities are much more diverse than MS's.
  • by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @01:52PM (#3317946) Homepage Journal
    The PS2 outsells the X-Box by a factor of ~8, retailers say. Some of this may be due to the fact that many smaller retailers were pissed off by the extremely low prices at some larger chains (some suspect that they were offered better conditions / support for avertising by M$), e.g. EUR 299 vs. the list price of EUR 479.
  • MSFT and money (Score:2, Informative)

    by WinPimp2K ( 301497 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @02:45PM (#3318374)
    Microsoft is sitting on about 40 billion dollars in cold hard CASH. That is close to the market capitalization of SONY (in translation MSFT could just about buy every available share of SONY stock on the market and pay cash - if they wanted to).

    But yes MSFT did game the tax system very nicely with their stock options - it has allowed them to have negligible taxable income.

    If MSFT really wants into the console gaming market, they will persevere. (In which case XBOX 3 will probably be a true ass-kicker of a console).

    A lot depends on how well the Korporate Kopyright Kartel is able to impose their will upon the Congress. If computers are reduced to little more than consoles, then you can bet MSFT will be there - they can't afford not to be. If the CBPTPA and its ilk is properly defeated. That is if the sponsors of the bill defeated by 99-1 margins in their re-election campaigns (or dragged out of their offices and hung from the Capitol flagpole), and the KKK properly chastised by having every copyright affecting law since 1860 declared unconstitutional, and every lawyer who works for the KKK thrown in jail for violating the civil rights of American citizens and resident aliens, well then MSFT may consider giving up on the console gaming market.

    In any other circumstances I wouldn't care to try and predict MSFTs actions.
  • PS2 trouncing Xbox (Score:2, Informative)

    by KITT_KATT!* ( 322412 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:55PM (#3320007) Homepage
    When Xbox launched in the US, it sold 1.5 million consoles in the first two months. Nintendo GameCube sold roughly twice that, albeit at half the price. But the truly amazing thing is that the PlayStation 2 - a console that was a year old and hadn't moved in price to combat the Xbox - sold 2.5 million in the same period of time.

    The Christmas trading season probably skewed the US figures somewhat, but Japan, Europe and Australia tell a similar story. The Xbox was launched in Australia on March 14 for $A649, more than $A100 more than the PS2. It sold 9000 in the first week (after MS said they would sell 20,000-30,000) and about 3000 a week since then. The PS2 has been outselling the Xbox two to one, with average monthly sales of 6000 a week. Part of this is to do with the fact that PS2 has a special entertainment pack (with DVDs etc) on offer at the moment, but it's still extraordinary.

    And yes, the retailers' attitude makes a huge difference. One of the biggest retail chains in Australia, Harvey Norman, has actually refused to stock the Xbox because they weren't going to make any margin.

    There is a collection of here [] that tells the story.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger