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Console war

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Years ago, Nintendo was top dog with its high-tech Super Nintendo system and the supreme ruling of Mario over all other competitors.  Mario and Luigi laid the smackdown to Sonic and Tails for a long time, then Sony entered the market.

Powered by its CD driven system — compared to game cartridges like Sega and Nintendo — Sony had way more along the lines of flexibility with game design and manipulating hardware.  Nintendo launched its Nintendo 64 and woo’d back some of what they had lost.

Then Sony launched the PS2, while Sega launched Dreamcast.  Dreamcast was Sega’s greatest system, but it was utterly ignored due to the lack of good software to play on it, whereas Sony had its PS2 double as a game console and DVD player.  The cross-platform entertainment device then easily outpaced both companies and Sony ruled the console market.

Then Microsoft opened up its checkbook.

Xbox was released to mixed reviews, but it did what neither Nintendo or Sega could: it challenged Sony by offering more exclusive content worth playing.  Halo catapulted the Xbox into the minds of first-person shooter fans and Xbox solidified its niche where Sony couldn’t respond.

Then with Sony’s PS3 and Xbox 360 from Microsoft, the tides turned completely.  Sony’s market dominance evaporated while Xbox took a year lead on sales, and compared to the overpriced PS3, Xbox was a bargain offering the same, if not better, experience.

And in our current recession, Microsoft seems to be the only company pulling in strong numbers as people find themselves at home more often and seeking forms of entertainment that last longer than a $60 bar tab.  

Microsoft is outpacing both Sony and Nintendo for retail sales and console sales, as well as online purchases, firmly planting Microsoft in the dominating position for the console war, with no intention of making risky calls that could jeopardize that in the future.

As many speculate these are the systems in the end of the console gaming era, it means that Microsoft might have once again taken control of an entire industry.

Rob @ July 19, 2009

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