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The State of the Game Console Wars 439

An anonymous reader writes "Two years after the next-gen game consoles hit the market, the verdict is in. What does the future hold for each of the Big Three? Here is a thoughtful but crude summary of the X-Box vs. GC vs. PS2 ordeal."
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The State of the Game Console Wars

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  • by desenz ( 687520 ) <roypfoh&gmail,com> on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:18AM (#6720356)
    Basically, it depends what kind of games you like to play. Although, those lines are getting a bit blurry too.
    Personally, I am a gamecube person. I have always been a fan of nintendos first-party games, and they are the only non-PC games I usually find an urge to play.
    Yes, I enjoyed Celda.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:19AM (#6720362)
    This is one of the most poorly written articles I've ever been exposed to. I don't what the author thinks or says because the way he/she/it says it so scatterbrained and immature.

    Who wrote that piece of rubbish? A 12 year old?

  • Thoughtful? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acxr is wasted ( 653126 ) * on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:22AM (#6720372)
    I can enjoy the sort of tongue-in-cheek humor this article has, but I wish I could rate this as "-1, Redundant" for the front page. Honestly, it's pointless. This current generation of consoles has had their fates sealed for a year now. Anyone who would take the time to read the article would already be aware of everything presented. None of what is explained in this story qualifies as "news."
  • by AntiOrganic ( 650691 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:22AM (#6720373) Homepage
    There really is no sense to this "console war" thing. PC vs. Mac is a viable religious debate, because Macs cost thousands upon thousands of dollars unless you want a low-end eMac. But with game consoles costing $129 and $149 (OMG TOO AMERICAN-CENTRIC) is it really a big deal anymore to own all three? You can buy all of them with one week's paycheck, if you make a good salary. If you play enough games on each to justify the initial cost of the console, it really shouldn't be a big deal.
  • Re:Thoughtful? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gherald ( 682277 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:26AM (#6720390) Journal
    Well you gotta at least give the article a +1 funny:

    Gamecube "non-sales" ?

    PS2 = PS1 painted black ?

    Within three years it will be a violation of federal law to not own an X-box ?

    C'mon now, thats funny.
  • by gotr00t ( 563828 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:27AM (#6720396) Journal
    It's a pointless waste of time. The entire article does not really poke the surface of any actual fact, and is either mostly speculation (like speculting about how Sony will eventually need to make good on their promise for a PS3 in order to even be able to stand up to Microsoft, who "always wins") or just stereotyping about stuff (like how playing Nintendo makes you look less manly... if I read that right) Moreover, like any good ./er, I hate his pro-M$ slant.

    This is nothing more than a person's personal opinion on the state of the console gaming market today, and you would be crazy to site it in any research paper or anything of that sort.

  • Worst. War. Ever. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by elwoodblues16 ( 666185 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:29AM (#6720407)
    Microsoft and Nintento are scrapping it out for second place. Does that really constitute a 'war'?

    Sega and Nintendo, that was a console war. This is... not.
  • Re:PC vs Console.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AntiOrganic ( 650691 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:31AM (#6720417) Homepage
    The PC will never, ever take off in Joe Schmoe's eyes, and there's a good reason.

    Take a look at the hardware requirements for Jedi Knight II:

    Operating System: Windows 95 OSR2/98/ME/2000/XP

    Computer: 100% DirectX-compatible computer required.

    CPU: Pentium II or Athlon class 350 MHz or faster CPU required.

    Memory: 64 MB required. 128 MB required for Windows 2000 and XP.

    Graphics card: 16MB OpenGL-compatible PCI or AGP 3D Hardware Accelerator required.

    Sound card: 16-bit DirectX 8.x-compatible sound card required.

    CD-ROM: Quad-Speed IDE or SCSI CD-ROM drive required.

    Input device: Keyboard or mouse required. Joystick supported.

    DirectX: Microsoft DirectX 8.0a is included on this CD.

    Installation: 665 MB of free hard drive space required. Additional free space required after game installation for Windows swap file and save games.

    By comparison, here's the hardware requirements for Halo:


  • numbers? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jest3r ( 458429 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:35AM (#6720432)
    Can anyone answer the following questions:

    1. How many PS2 consols have sold to date
    2. How many Xbox consols have sold to date
    3. How many Gamecubes have sold to date

    I would also like to know when M$ is planning on making the XBOX smaller ... right now the thing is big and ugly ...
  • by binarybum ( 468664 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:36AM (#6720439) Homepage

    I fail to see how an opininated piece of rubbish that lays out predictions, nay, edicts for what game console is the l3373S7 without describing the details of how the conclusions were drawn can be reffered to as thoughtful.

    btw: I think that infographic was already published in USA today.

    I turn to slashdot for informative tech news, not something I could find with a search engine by typing in video games +boobies
  • by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:43AM (#6720471) Journal
    when game companies were game companies. I hate Sony for releasing the Playstation, and I despise M$ for the XBox (and other obvious reasons). I think it's awful that those two compainies are not dependent for survival on the quality of the product.

    Call me sentimental, but I feel as though the PS? and XBox have no substance, no charm, no soul. Nintendo and Sega have all those things for me. It's something that cannot be explained by logic or statistics.

    Also, I know I can't be the only one who thinks that first-person shooters do not belong on consoles.
  • by lightspawn ( 155347 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:47AM (#6720489) Homepage
    But with game consoles costing $129 and $149 (OMG TOO AMERICAN-CENTRIC) is it really a big deal anymore to own all three? You can buy all of them with one week's paycheck, if you make a good salary.

    The PS2 and xbox are normally priced at $179. And how many households make a good salary? Some don't have a salary at all, any more, and a second console certainly isn't a priority.

    Also consider that some gamers are (gasp) underage, and as such have limited resources to spend on gaming. Let's say you're a kid with a PS2 and $240 burning a hole in your pocket. Would you prefer to buy an xbox, second controller, memory card and one (1) platinum hit game, or twelve (12) greatest hits games for the console you already own?

  • if by "hottest selling" you mean "I am only talking about the USA"...

    and if you rank the PS2 as an equal success as the Xbox, you're being misleading, considering that Sony has sold many times more PS2's than Microsoft has sold Xboxen.

    Note than in Japan, the Xbox makes up 1.6% of hardware sales. That .6% better than the discontinued Wonderswan.

  • Wow, what rubbish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzeli ( 676881 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:49AM (#6720499)
    Finally, an acknowledgement that flaccid US Gamecube sales are due to the majority of American gamers being insecure in their manhood.

    The format of the article underscores this point beautifully.
  • by FauxReal ( 653820 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:50AM (#6720503) Homepage
    Although the article is informative in the fact that it names the three major consoles, there isn't any other usefull content there. I do wonder if the writer truly is clever in their textbook depiction of a completely stereotypical trailer park reject wrestling fanatic with a breast obsession. It couldn't be the writer's real perosnality because this person obviously knows how to use a computer.
  • by canicus ( 670885 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:55AM (#6720513)
    As has already been pointed out, the article is poorly written and a joke. I didn't quite finish it for those reasons, and I felt like I was losing brain cells.

    The whole question is moot, though. After all, the combination of having the best advertising and releasing first will be what wins out. Even fan loyalty will likely come in handy. So, why bother predicting, when one bureaucratic screw up can ruin the whole thing.

    Now, there are the other holy wars...Linux, vi, and the like being worthy causes :).
  • Re:Thoughtful? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Babbster ( 107076 ) <> on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:57AM (#6720525) Homepage
    None of what is explained in this story qualifies as "news."

    Amen. In fact, I stopped reading because the writer presented something that not only wasn't news, but wasn't even true:

    "Starcraft: Ghost, a game about a popular female character from the outrageously successful PC game who must perform a series of dangerous missions while avoiding being punched in the breasts, is now an X-Box exclusive."

    The rumor that Ghost will be Xbox exclusive has apparently been spread around so much that it's now being taken as a fact. The truth, of course, is that no such announcement has been made and Blizzard's official website still has the icons of all three consoles on the Starcraft: Ghost front page.

    I was nearly stopped in my tracks by the beyond insipid "penis chart." There was no way I could continue after the paragraph quoted above.

    Two words for the linked article: "Utter crap."

    Three words for michael [mailto]: "Shame on you."

  • Re:PC vs Console.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AntiOrganic ( 650691 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @01:01AM (#6720535) Homepage
    And you know what? I bet 19 out of 20 people make the frozen lasagna instead.
  • by Clock Nova ( 549733 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @01:02AM (#6720540)
    Hmmm. Last I checked, Starcraft: Ghost was still a multi-console release. Interesting article, though slightly misguided.
  • by MikeD83 ( 529104 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @01:11AM (#6720571)
    I think people should stop complaining. It was a quite humorous editorial piece on the status of the console industry. I stopped taking it seriously when I saw the image of the fake testicles attached to the Game Cube. If you take it as a light-hearted editorial- it's actually a good read.
  • by Babbster ( 107076 ) <> on Monday August 18, 2003 @01:20AM (#6720606) Homepage
    First off, on sales figures: Until I see one source with hard data on all three, I disbelieve all of them. What inevitably happens is that people have to cobble together US figures released by Microsoft, production numbers released by Nintendo, worldwide distribution (including replacements) figures from Sony, the various third-party surveys and statistical guesses, etc. All numbers that have different meanings and varying degrees of relevance to the "big question": Who's first, who's second and who's third (thank your lucky stars you can't here my Lou Abbott impression).

    Until there's a consistent third-party reporting on all three companies the various sales figures, while perhaps having some value taken on their own, become meaningless when compared to one another.

    On Linux: The idea that Microsoft should be supportive of Linux on their machine is at best naive. Why should they offer more legitimacy [than they have to] to a competitor? Further, why should they support such a feature that would inevitably cause increased sales of a product that isn't a revenue generator while probably minimizing the attach rate of the software, on which they DO make money?

    Perspective: If people buy one Xbox to run Microsoft-approved Linux, that's not too bad for Microsoft. After all, it's very likely that the buyer will purchase one or more games for the system (even if they're not a fan of Xbox exclusives, they could go for Xbox versions of multi-console titles that might be better on X).

    On the other hand, if people buy one or more EXTRA Xboxen to run Microsoft-approved Linux then any chances of profit (slim in this generation, anyway) off the additional machines go up in smoke since a multiple-Xbox buyer is unlikely to buy multiple copies of each game.

    Even in the PR area, it's at best a wash to support Xbox Linux since the people whose minds they would want to change about their company wouldn't be satisfied with just that one thing. They would simply move on to all the other things they hate about Microsoft and Windows while playing with their LinuXboxen.

  • by AntiOrganic ( 650691 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @01:47AM (#6720681) Homepage
    Talk abounds concerning another round of price drops in the near future. Speculation says that Gamecube will fall to $129 while PS2 and Xbox will be priced at a modest $149. I had assumed the prices had already fallen. Silly me, they'll cut it in time for the holiday season like last year.

    I realize that many gamers are underage, but I take the position of assuming that the article's writer (while he doesn't show it) is over the age of 18, and most likely, so are you and the rest of Slashdot's readers. This comment, being posted on Slashdot, was designed to cater specifically to Slashdot readers rather than, of course, to people who will never read the comment.

    You do have a point about the Greatest Hits games, but chances are that there aren't 12 Greatest Hits games worth buying (which there almost certainly aren't) and you'll be suckered into buying more new games at $50-55 apiece. This is, of course, assuming that you don't already own the originals of Grand Theft Auto 3 and Final Fantasy X. When I was younger, I owned about 35 Playstation games. The only Greatest Hits title I owned was Crash Bandicoot, and it was given to me as a gift. I would go so far as to make the assumption that most people don't wait a long enough time for the low-price Greatest Hits release to actually buy it. If they want it, they'll probably get it when it's new. So, essentially, it boils down to 3 full-price games vs. one new console. Though, you do have me on one point -- I hadn't bothered to factor in the costs of memory cards, controllers, and other peripherals.

    But the inverse may actually be true -- for many people, it may actually be more likely that you will buy more "Greatest Hits" titles for the new console that you just got -- so, if it comes down to 5 full-price games for PS2 that you've never played (since you own the originals of the Greatest Hits games), or 5 Platinum Hit games for Xbox that you've never played, you're only spending a marginal amount more on the Xbox games including the console.

    I could be entirely wrong, but it sure makes sense to me.
  • by iapetus ( 24050 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @03:10AM (#6720886) Homepage
    Perhaps I'm wrong here, but I got this strange impression that the article was aiming for humour rather than a true in-depth look at the future of the video games industry. There were a few little things that gave it away. The graph of penis sizes. The suggestion that Microsoft will be the future because of changes in federal law and death threats to major developers.

    Oh, and that wasn't really a picture of a Sony engineer testing out Cell.
  • by John_Booty ( 149925 ) <> on Monday August 18, 2003 @03:11AM (#6720887) Homepage
    ...mentioned in the article- XBox, Gamecube, and PS2. Of the three, I find myself enjoying the Gamecube the most, followed closely by the XBox, with the PS2 as a distant third.

    I find the XBox and the Gamecube to have much nicer/smoother graphics than the PS2 games. Also, I like the fact that they each have four controller ports- four-player simultaneous games are a blast. Yeah, I know you can buy a multi-tap for the PS2, but nobody I know has a multitap and there isn't much game support for them. Nintendo has the best controllers ever, IMHO, followed by the XBox S-Controllers. The PS2 controllers are... adequate.

    I also like the small, cute appearance of the Gamecube. Yeah- call me weird, but something appeals to me about a system that squeezes that much power out of so little hardware. Maybe it's some sort of innate engineer's sense, I don't know. By contrast, the XBox seems to have slighly nicer graphics but is many times more massive.

    People complain about the game libraries on the XBox and GC, compared to the PS2's. It's true that the PS2 has hundreds as times as many games as the other two systems. But I think that's only really an issue if you play hundreds of games. If you take the best 5, 10, or 15 games or so from any system's software library, I think the three consoles are pretty even.

    Even though it made this point in a "funny" way - that article was SERIOUSLY RIGHT about one thing- the "kiddie"/"girly" image of Nintendo is KILLING it. Nintendo has to re-establish itself as a system for "real men". Like it or not, the reality is that a large portion of the game-buying public just doesn't want to be seen buying something like the Gamecube, and would rather go with the more-manly XBox or PS2.
  • by Photo_Nut ( 676334 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @03:29AM (#6720936)
    Let me summarize the parent comment:
    "I'm a 17 year old proud Nintendo zealot, asking flamebait questions of a director of advanced technology in the XBox group because I want to irk her. I put what I can remember of the conversation on my blog and post to /. so that I can brag about it to all my friends. I feel cool because I got canned answers to uninteresting questions that have been asked by other zealots like me."
    This post wasn't insightful or interesting. It maybe even deserved a flamebait rating. I don't find childish antics to be a way of gaining respect. Before you irk someone on your own side of the OSS debate for giving credence to the "all Linux users are immature male teens" argument, go back to your room and think about it.

    I'll answer both questions technically:
    Q: Why does Microsoft refuse to give Linux a legitimate license for use?

    A: The XBox is a game console which is sold as a loss leader, so that the money can be made back in licensing fees from Microsoft and 3rd party software for the platform. Running Linux on it gains no licensing fees, damages the reputation among gamers that it is a game console and NOT a computer, opens the console to a market of people who aren't profitable (the people who buy games), and if Microsoft has had _any_ legal claim (Patent, trade secret, etc) to _any_ form of IP infringed on by Linux, selling Linux would nullify Microsoft's rights. Sony's PS/2 Linux is an example of a console implementation of Linux failing to produce anything of value to Sony. Microsoft doesn't need to repeat Sony's mistakes to learn from them.

    Q: What does Microsoft plan to do about the fact that they are in third place worldwide?

    A: Microsoft will study its competition and determine what it needs to do to compete in the long term. Being 3rd place selling over 10 Million units after 2 years of a V1 product from Microsoft is actually quite a success, and you can bet that Ms. Fryer is busy working out deals to acquire whatever advanced technologies she can to make the division more profitable, and in general turning around the revenue stream from being a losing money proposition in the short term to a profitable enterprise in the long term.

    Which technologies she's getting into she probably won't tell you, but I'm guessing that you will be able to do video chat at some point using the XBox 2, or maybe even the XBox. Do they really need all that horsepower (733MHz P3) as it is? The XBox is more powerful than my main computer throughout my 4 years of college!

    This year, a 3.06 GHz P4 with hyperthreading and 6 USB 2 ports is $1000. Imagine what kinds of things software on this device will be able to do in a box under your TV next year. You had an opportunity to ask someone who produces cool advanced technologies about what they thought was coming in 5 to 10 years, and maybe even influence her, and all you could do is rant to boost your "proud 17-year-old ego". This is exactly the kind of mentality that brings down /., and here it is with a score of 5, Interesting.

  • Re:Thoughtful? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2003 @04:46AM (#6721099)
    This isn't flamebait! The article linked to on the front page is not safe for work. It contains highly inappropriate images, and there should be a warning.
  • I don't think MS are ever betting on making loads of dosh from the hardware. What is going on between Sony and MS at the moment is nothing less than a war for control of the living room. The current generation of consoles have already changed from being straight gaming machines to being able to play DVD's (I'm leaving the big N out of this cause they always marketed the GC as a pure gaming experience). And both of the big console makers have started to dip their toes in the waters of online gaming, and whats the betting that the next consoles will allow access to the internet as well as other online services.

    Who knows what these boxes will be doing for us in a decades time, I predict that we will we will see all the modern media devices (dvd, dvr, games, hi fi) converge into one box in the center of the living room.
  • by Ziviyr ( 95582 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @05:36AM (#6721189) Homepage
    The big N balances SW and HW, whereas Sony and MS have made videogaming revolve around the hardware alone.

    I think Nintendo made well balanced hardware and puts out games of medium-high quailty.

    Sony made hardware based on marketing (blue LED, promises of a ninth generation model that will rape your senses with various infeasable marketspeak based features, you think they'll ever deny that the PS3 chip is able to shoot magic? Now do you think they'll figure out texture filtering next round (just maybe)? How about load times (I have a hat waiting to be eaten)?) and a massive catalog of hit and miss and really miss and please I'll pay you to take this from me software.

    Microsoft has money, they made a box based on money, they get software development by throwing money around. It outputs pretty, its made by the devil, and unplugged it makes a nice set of blunt weapons.

    Nintendo serious game company,
    Sony psycho marketers with a following,
    Microsoft bleeds money with trial and error.
  • Re:numbers? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cREW oNE ( 445594 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @08:16AM (#6721546)
    Look at it this way. In the few (two? three?) years that MS has been active in the console field they have managed to sell as much consoles as one of the long term players in the field. (Nintendo.)

    I don't own any console nor am I a real MS fan, but what they have achieved with the XboX in such a short time and on such a (what was assumed to be a) closed market is pretty amazing. Especially because this is their first generation console.
  • by gnugnugnu ( 178215 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @12:21PM (#6723208) Homepage
    + 1 Insightful

    You hit the nail on the head.

    Previous articles on the Playstation Linux kit mentioned the importance of developers. Training people to learn the custom hardware and specialised SDKs costs a fortune.

    I belive Sony are smart enough not to sell below cost, so Linux kit just creates good will rather than lost profits. If people with the linux kit buy even one Game Sony are probably doing well.

    And I believe playstations have been used as cheap hardware in renderfarms.

    There were notions of building clusters using Playststations (the defunct Wulfstation cluster project) all this creates goodwill towards Sony and a few extra sales.
  • Pathetic. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fondue ( 244902 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @03:22PM (#6725269)
    Okay, let's see what insightful comments a bunch of high school kids have to grace us with today.

    "Nintendo is kiddie!!!1"

    "Teh Xbox is big!!!1"

    "Sony liek hype!!!1"

    A shame they didn't think of evaluating the ACTUAL GAMES available for each of the machines, or how they've performed commercially in the three main territories. Or failing that, tried to be funny.

    At least the domain name [] was accurate.

  • by Tidal Flame ( 658452 ) on Monday August 18, 2003 @04:00PM (#6725627) Homepage
    Yeah, the PC is a great gaming console, as long as you don't mind spending about 10 times as much money as you need to be to get working, non-laggy games. I also hope you don't mind the fact that the game still doesn't look as good as most of the console games out there, because it has to be designed for the lowest common denominator so that those of us who aren't Bill Gates can actually afford a system capable of playing it. Oh, and don't forget the total lack of stability, the annoying and often faulty software activation process, and the amount of space it's wasting on your hard disk.

    Sounds fun to me!

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson