Control the Motion, Control the Market.

consoles

Still bloodied and bruised from the first round, the consoles have begun taping up and preparing for round two – the controller wars. Nintendo came prepared for the fight with the motion sensor and has subsequently beaten its competitors to a pulp – consistently. Remember when Nintendo unveiled the ‘Revolution‘ back in 2005? With the fragmented success of the Nintendo 64 and miniscule sales of GameCube, it was common opinion that lovable Nintendo had officially lost its marbles. This was confirmed when they announced the name of the new console.

wii

100 million Wii’s later, Nintendo’s proclamation of a revolution was far from an idle threat, rather, a genuine statement engineered and marketed to perfection through non-gender specific campaigns (Yes, there are two genders with disposable income) and a thriving casual gaming community. Now, Microsoft and Sony are preparing to launch their counter attack to the mass market question Nintendo addressed three years previous.

natal

With Microsoft’s Project Natal 3D motion camera and voice recognition and Sony’s motion control wand/camera product, industry experts predict the new devices should help extend the life of the current console generation well beyond the standard five-year lifecycle. The arrival of the PS3 Slim and price drop of both the High-definition consoles reiterate this further. Once Project Natal and Sony’s motion controller arrive, we should essentially have three “Wiis” on the market (sorry but that name will never be acceptable).

sony wand

Are Sony and Microsoft wise to implement such a dramatic strategy shift at this point in time? And why are they even trying such a paradigm shift? I put it down to technological failures and the companies apathy to tackle the problem head on. Sony prevailed with their choice of Blu-Ray over the now defunct HD-DVD format. At this point, it would have been the perfect opportunity to market their system to a wider audience, as families worldwide began investing in their LCD’s, Plasma’s and home entertainment systems. A price drop to match the average priced Blu-Ray player would have seen the console off the shelves and into the homes before the recession hit. The recession I must concede, has halted sales of high-definition products, but if the console was in the homes before the downturn hit, Sony would be coasting through on a sea of crystal clear images.

dig

What both Sony and Microsoft failed to acknowledge was that their products were perceived as hardcore gaming units to the general masses rather than multimedia centres. The failure on their part is both consoles aimed to cater for such a wide variety of consumers that they both ended up getting consistently beaten by a console with specs that couldn’t match their previous generations; but had a succinct, clear strategy. The key to Wii’s success is in its consistency. Family participation, peripheral sales and 1st party products – simple. I’m sure Sony and Microsoft couldn’t tell you what their plan is, but the arrival of their motion sensor implements indicates it might operate along the same lines as its waggle stick competitor.

We’ve come so far.

atari

I suppose now its wireless though.

Dré

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