The holiday season is almost here, nearing towards the time where everyone falls into the festive spirit that is synonymous with words such as merry and cheerful. This season will be somewhat different for some, however, as the holidays will serve as the grounds for the next great battle in the ongoing “console war.” The “console war” is the term used to relate to the direct competition between three major companies: Microsoft, Nintendo Sony, and their respective systems. This year, the console war will pit Microsoft’s Xbox 360 against Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s Playstation 3. With the last generation of gaming (Playstation 2, Xbox and Gamecube), the differences were hard to notice as each console was mainly for gaming.
The next generation, with the release of the Xbox 360 a little less than a year ago and the upcoming launches of both the Playstation 3 and the Wii on Nov. 17 and 19 respectively, the noticeable differences will grow. Each system has its own unique capabilities, functions and purposes that fuel this “console war,” reaching new levels.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which launched on Nov. 22, 2005, has since gained much support with its growing library of game titles, crisp graphics and online capabilities. Since launching the Xbox 360, Microsoft has reported selling over six million units, despite their strong shortage of systems over the 2005 holiday season.
The 360 is undoubtedly a step-up from the original Xbox because of the options given to the buyer. Options include: the ability to play in high-definition or regular picture, to focus on single, offline play or continue online with Xbox Live, to customize soundtracks and even an option in price.
Since its launch, there have been two different bundles for the 360, one priced at $299.99 and the other at $399.99, the differences depends on what the buyer may want. For instance, if the buyer would simply want to play 360 games right away, the $299.99 bundle would appear more attractive the $399.99 bundle includes more accessories meant to fulfill almost every purpose of the 360.
Similar to the Xbox 360, Sony’s Playstation 3 will also be released in two different bundles when it is launched. The Playstation 3 will be priced at $499.99 and $599.99, each bundle containing particular differences. The major differences will be limited to the amount of hard drive space, memory and wireless Internet capabilities. Otherwise, Sony’s PS3 is focused around the blu-ray disc technology that would essentially be able to hold larger amounts of data per disc, making loading times for games and movies a thing of the past.
The last of the next-generation consoles to be released will be the Nintendo Wii. Pronounced like “we,”the name hasn’t attracted many people, especially since being changed from “Revolution” as it was previously named. What the Wii will offer for $249.99, however, is what is attracting people. Built out of the Nintendo philosophy of emphasizing original and fresh game play, the Wii is arguably the most innovative of the three systems. Already focused on established game franchises (Legend of Zelda, Mario, etc.) and original games, Nintendo is bringing along an entirely new way to take the gamer into the game.
First, the controller for the console works off of a system of motion-detection technology that responds to motion, pitch, tilt and depth. Basically, however the controller may be used, what is done with the controller is what will happen in the game. So, in a game like Red Steel,the controller will act as a sword and gun.
The second aspect of the Wii is that it will allow owners to download games. The Nintendo console will actually allow you to go online, browse through games that date back from the original Nintendo Entertainment System and purchase them using a system of online credit points.
With each console, it is difficult for some people to see where the lines are drawn. Which console fits for whom, what will be worth the money spend the most, and, possibly the most important, how much could someone actually get out of which?
According to some West Chester University students, the decision between consoles is not easily made. Each console has something different to offer, something that the others do not have, at least to the same effect. There are those that find the Xbox 360 more attractive due to it having an established library, an impressive online service and detailed graphics. Others lean towards the Wii because of the Nintendo name and now because of the innovation. Still, there are some that find the PS3 the system to have because of what it will eventually be capable of.
A number of West Chester students also have reasons for not wanting a system. Some people do not have the money for a Playstation 3 that would cost close to $1,000 after games and accessories. Others still feel that Nintendo has too much of an innocent child-like feel to their systems. Some find that the Xbox 360 is too centered towards the online-gamer rather than a balanced experience.