WiiU/XBox One/PS4: Who Wins Next Gen?

Posted: November 11, 2013 in Current Gaming
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Console Wars

Let me begin by saying that this entire post is being pulled completely from my nether regions. Sure, I’m going to give my pros and cons and it may sound like I really, really know what I’m talking about, but this is still based mostly on some general reading I’ve done, my general knowledge of the gaming market, and the vibe I’m getting from fellow gamers on Twitter and other social media sites. I’m probably less reliable than the Magic 8 Ball, but figured why not? So, with that in mind, here we go…

WiiUWiiU

– The Pros –

  • The Wii Brand. Sure, a new market of gamers made the Wii the amazing financial success it was and Nintendo can’t count on that same audience being a repeat buyer, but it can’t hurt too much to have your new console carry a similar name as your last console that sold over 100 million units. Or, can it…
  • Fanboys. Yeah, guilty to some extent. Few fan groups will defend their console the way the most dedicated Nintendo fans will. These are the gamers that could give you ten reasons why Nintendo losing out on Final Fantasy VII was actually a good thing. These exist for all three consoles, but, perhaps because of Nintendo’s longer history in the gaming market, they seem to be the most loyal in Nintendo’s camp.
  • IPs. At the end of the day, Nintendo owns the most famous stable of IPs of any console developer. Starting with Mario and running through Link, Samus Aran, Pokemon, Starfox, Pikmin, F-Zero, Kid Icarus, and you get the point. Nintendo can, at anytime, excite the gaming market by announcing a new game in one of these series. Are they always good? No. Metroid: Other M was a low point for the series and Starfox has been missing in action ever since having a couple of lukewarm entries, but even a mediocre or less than stellar release will create news for the console and move a few units at the very least.
  • The Gamepad. Of the three developers, Nintendo is the only one that is including a different input method that hasn’t been seen in any form since the Dreamcast controller had a screen. This is at least a minor pro because it is included whereas Smartglass and a Playstation Vita will have to be purchased separately from the console to utilize.

– The Cons –

  • The Wii Brand. Yes, this is double edged sword. For the positives I listed above, there are some negatives to this. Primarily, it has managed to confuse some consumers. My own wife asked me after the WiiU was released if it was a new system or just a new controller for the Wii. This person lives with me. Me, a Nintendo fan and avid game player. If she didn’t know, how many people out there that pay even less attention are thrown off by the similar names?
  • Power. I’ll be the first to say graphics aren’t everything, but this is still important, especially with third party offerings. Nintendo runs the risk of being shut out of third party offerings that will appear on the PS4 and XBox One simply because the games would have to be downscaled. This won’t be a problem for a while as it appears that development for the 360 and PS3 will continue for at least a couple of more years, but it could quickly become one once that production ceases. Speaking of…
  • Third Party Games. The WiiU hasn’t exactly sold the way Nintendo expected, which has lead many third party developers to simply stop developing for it. Nintendo can only do so much on their own and need to find a way to lure those developers back if they hope to compete with the WiiU. When you’ve lost EA development, it becomes a bit of a concern.
  • Timing. The WiiU has been out for around a year and is modestly more powerful than what has been on the market. As with the 3DS, the launch went poorly thanks to a drought of quality games for the system. Now that a few are starting to come out, they will have to compete for headlines with the launch of the XBox One and PS4. No easy task. The 3DS didn’t have this kind of competition to contend with once the games started flowing.

Xbox One

Xbox One

– The Pros –

  • Exclusives. This is a close one, but with Titanfall, Ryse, and Dead Rising 3, I feel the edge in this department has to go to Microsoft. I’m thinking solely in terms of third party support here, but having Halo in your stable can’t hurt. It’s very telling that I named these three without any research, yet can’t recall a single PS4 exclusive at or near launch.
  • Online Structure. It may have a subscription cost, but Microsoft has excelled in this department, being the first console developer to really harness the power and popularity of online gaming. Sony is doing itself great justice in this department, but I still think of Microsoft as being the leader in this area, even if that lead has narrowed.

– The Cons –

  • Microsoft. Watching Microsoft attempt to market the XBox One has truly been a lesson in how to destroy your own popularity. Be it price, online requirements, reversing said requirements, or dismissing your potential customers, Microsoft has put on a clinic of how to defeat yourself. Sony suffered through this with the PS3 and it took them some time to put it all behind them. I fear the same will be true of Microsoft.
  • Price. I’m hesitant to include this as it is a fluid number that can change at anytime, but at the very least, at it’s launch, Microsoft will have the priciest console by $100 over the Playstation 4. In an era where there are so few exclusives to sway consumers, that kind of difference can certainly influence a potential buyer.
  • Lack of Trust. Even though they have reversed the policies that gained them so much ill-will, I get the sense that many gamers still believe that Microsoft could re-implement those policies at some point down the road, making them hesitant to be an early adopter. In the end, this may not make a noticeable difference, but I believe it does set in the back of quite a few people’s minds and could steer them to Sony’s PS4.

PS4

Playstation 4

– The Pros –

  • Microsoft. All of the negatives I listed above about Microsoft’s actions have driven more than a few people to Sony’s camp. Sony have played this perfectly, calling out each of Microsoft’s maligned policies at their E3 conference, and denouncing each one. It resulted in some of the loudest cheers I’ve ever heard at an E3 conference and may have been the final nail in forcing Microsoft to reverse said policies.
  • Price. If it’s a negative for Microsoft, it’s a positive for Sony. Again, they are under Microsoft by $100 which could be enough to sway undecided buyers. A fluid number, but looking just at the launch, it is a nice advantage to have.
  • Buzz. Starting with the aforementioned E3 conference, Sony has steadily increased their positive buzz. It has almost become a situation where one company seems to be the Good Guy (Sony) whereas the other is the Bad Guy (Microsoft). I’m guessing that in this scenario, Nintendo would be bartender that just doesn’t want his place shot up?

– The Cons –

  • The Vita. Sony is really pushing off screen play, but to utilize that, gamers must purchase their handheld ($199) in addition to the $400 system. Quite a chunk of change to get a “full” experience. It’s not a game breaker to not have the Vita with the PS4, but it is an aspect Sony is marketing heavily.

Conclusion

As much of a Nintendo fan as I am, I just don’t see them recovering in time to dominate this generation. I think their games will ultimately sell the system, though sales will be nowhere close to the numbers the Wii moved. I feel that Microsoft is going to be fighting an image problem for a least the first year. This combined with their price point, assuming they don’t lower it, could hurt their sales after the initial launch period. Ultimately, I think this generation is there for Sony to take. They’ve been able to capitalize on the mistakes of their competitors and may have hit on a price point that will move consoles for the holidays. So long as they avoid the drought of games that Nintendo experienced with the WiiU (and are still experiencing to some extent), I believe they’ll move more consoles monthly on a regular basis and will vindicate themselves from the horrific PS3 launch.

Still, what do I know. I did predict the success of the Wii, but have also never been able to figure out why the Gamecube moved so few systems or why the TG-16 never caught on. Listen to me at your own risk.

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Comments
  1. brandonmc87 says:

    How Gamecube fizzled out is still a mystery to me. My favorite Nintendo system by a mile.

    And I agree with your call of Sony pushing the PS4/Vita connectivity. Last I remember, this failed miserably with Cube and GBA.

    • JAVGB says:

      Oh man, and how it fizzled. I think a grand total of four games actually used it. Maybe they used it well, but four games?

      • brandonmc87 says:

        You mean four 3rd party games? I actually think the Cube’s third party support was underrated.. Resident Evils, Tales of Symphonia, Skies of Arcadia, Godzilla Melee, Metal Gear remake, Super Monkey Ball… and those are just some of my personal faves.

      • JAVGB says:

        Oh, mistake. I was thinking about how the GBA/GCN connectivity thing fizzled out. There were only about four games I could recall ever using it, and of those, only Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles used it in an in-depth manner.

        Totally agree on the Gamecube and third parties. I think it did pretty well there, with RE4 being the jewel of the third party offerings.

  2. I agree with you conclusion; PS4 #1, Wii U #2, One #3 (well, I think that’s the order, at least on my end, lololol).

    • JAVGB says:

      I’m thinking the WiiU and Xbox One could be a push, but if I had to make a call, I’d put WiiU at #2 behind the PS4 as well. I suspect we’re about to see a repeat of the PS2/Xbox/GCN era in terms of where they’ll end up. PS4 will sell more units (though no where near the PS2 numbers) and the WiiU and Xbox One will be relatively close. Of course, I could be vastly underrating how badly Microsoft is handling this thing and the appeal of Nintendo’s first party games.

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