Friday, July 04, 2008

Where will I go after the Wii?

I'm a proud user of Wii, and have been since January 2007. I own a mere six Wii games, each costing $50 each; The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, Super Paper Mario, Super Mario Galaxy, Elebits, Mariokart Wii, and Super Smash Brothers Brawl. This is a far cry from my PC games, which include all four Quake releases, Doom 3, Battlefield 1942, Battlefield 2, and numerous releases of Command and Conquer. So you get some idea of my eclectic tastes. But my gaming is equally split between dedicated consoles and the PC.

My use of consoles stretches back to my single years in the late 1970s with the Atari 2600 and the TI 99/4A. My use of modern consoles begain with the original Nintendo Entertainment System I purchased from Fryes while visiting Intel in California on a business trip in 1988. I was married at that point and both girls were still little babies. I kept that going for many years, primarily for the girls, picking up a Sega Genesis system (to play Sonic and Dot) before purchasing the Nintendo 64 in Christmas 1996. My girls were getting older and they wanted games that would play on the PlayStation 1, and then the PlayStation 2 (my favorite games on the PlayStation 2 will always be Katamari Damacy, We Love Katamari, and Evil Dead Regeneration (and the whole family are big fans of Bruce Campbell)). And that's where I was at until I was given a 'gift' certificate to go and get a Wii in December 2006.

How I finally got my hands on my Wii would fill another post, but suffice to say that getting my Christmas present in mid-January gave new meaning to the 12 days of Christmas. Once I had it along with Zelda and the bundled sports games, I sat down and started to just play with it. I immediately found it quite enjoyable, and the kind of system you could pick up and put down at any time. The Wii makes time for you, not the other way around.

I also found out that because of its standardized memory card slot and USB connectors, I was able to add storage to my Wii and got it wirelessly on the network using an old Linksys wireless USB adapter (802.11b). No muss, no fuss. As lots of folks like to claim about their favorite environments, It Just Worked. And when the girls come home to visit from college we all sit around and really enjoy playing games on the Wii, especially Mario Cart.

But what comes after the Wii? If you believe Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg then it's going to be an Xbox 360:
I think that there's a difference in the type of customer that is buying the Wii. When you think about it, there's a difference between trying to be the number one console with nine year old gamers, and being the console that offers the most experiences from 13 to 33.

I think for us, we don't really see the Wii as a direct competitor, we actually very much complement the Wii experience. It's obviously clear that we're going head-to-head with the PS3 in this generation. I think what Xbox will be able to do as well as the Wii is grow the market.

In this generation we're seeing record revenues for the U.S. and globally for the business, and we're seeing more people buying and playing games than ever before, and the Wii is definitely part of that. And as they grow that pie, that benefits us too, because those customers are eventually going to want to graduate to an Xbox 360 experience."
I beg to differ. I've played games on both the Xbox 360 as well as the PlayStation 3, and if I were to 'graduate' from the Wii it would be to the PS3, not Xbox. Ignoring my obvious bias against anything Microsoft and judging purely on technical merit as well as general game play, I find the PS3 to be superior to the XBox 360 on both counts, especially technical chops. In my not-so-humble opinion, in the price position that XBox 360 and PS3 are competing in, I find Sony's console far more compelling than Microsoft's. And in the (limited) game play and visual experience with both, I find that Sony, especially with some of the latest titles, to again be superior to Xbox 360. And finally, there's the general arrogant attitude from Mr. Greenberg. One of the games I purchased and play on the Wii, Elebits, came as a recommendation from my youngest, who turns 20 in July. Where did she pick it up from? From all her friends at FSU. Seems that it's got quite a little following up in Tallahassee. It's fun, and the Wii is a lot more affordable than the Xbox for the college set.

I've had my eye on the 80GB PS3 bundle with Metal Gear Solid 4, and I'll probably get it before the end of the summer. I'm looking towards the future of gaming. The PS3 is maturing into the console of choice for advanced gaming and thus satisfies my concerns about the future.

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