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  1. #1
    Senior Member CantGetAWii's Avatar
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    Wii Doing Well, Why Microsoft Should Buy Sony

    For decades, bigger was always better in the world of videogames. Nintendo's eight-bit NES replaced Atari's crude 2600. Then Sega's sixteen-bit Genesis took over where the NES left off. Eventually Sony's PlayStation came along and surpassed those. Better processors and better technology made for better graphics, which was virtually the only basis by which gamers bought consoles.

    But as Microsoft and Sony are learning, bigger no longer means better. While their Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 both offer incredibly detailed graphics, their opponent, the Nintendo Wii, has been sold out of stores for two years straight, despite the fact its innards are only slightly better than its predecessor, the overlooked Nintendo GameCube.

    Why is the Wii so popular? Anyone who owns one will tell you the same story: A friend will come over, notice videogames, and ask to play something "fun." Inevitably, the host will fire up the Wii, because it has more two-player games. Because its controls are easy to understand. Because its controls work well. And because every single game isn’t a hyper complicated shooter that requires months of mastery to learn. (And, let's not forget: The Wii is cheaper by about fifty bucks, at least.)

    We’re now on the verge of a recession, and Sony and Microsoft are in trouble. Games are luxuries. Nobody “needs” them. Nor does anyone need such hi-tech features as the Blu-Ray, HDMI compatibility Sony’s pushing. But there is a solution to Sony and Microsoft’s woes: they should join forces to make one system, for less money. Yes, I’m dreaming big. With this whole Yahoo! merger in play, it will never happen. But both companies have invested too much in video games, and they want to win. So I ask, in case either will listen: why two nearly identical multimedia future-machines? Why not join up and make only one?

    A few compelling reasons to do so:

    1. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has the most atrocious hardware in consumer electronics history. It's so bad, the company had to extend 360 warranties to three years, spending a billion dollars in the process, just to fix systems that keep breaking on a whim. I’ve had four systems break in only three years. They’re becoming known as a lemon-maker with great games. Meanwhile, Sony makes great hardware but...

    2. Sony has the worst software interface in the business. Compared to the Wii, Sony's online friend management and gameplay are an utter mystery, requiring endless navigation of its Byzantine menu structure. Sure, buried inside the PS3 are plenty of amazing “potential technology” features -- like the ability to install Linux, or its wireless connectivity with the PSP -- but who cares? No one needs these features to play games. Even worse, developers can't seem to make games for the PS3, while the 360’s development toolkit is a relative stroll in the park.

    3. Cost-cutting. The PS3 still costs more to make than it does on store shelves, which has led to $841 million operating loss for Sony’s games division as of the end of October 2007. Until it pulls a profit, it’s an albatross for all of Sony. Microsoft feels like it’s finally gaining ground on Sony, with a library of titles that are superior, and an online interface that is miles better -- not to mention a larger installed base of sales in the U.S -- but they blew a billion dollars to extend the faulty system’s warranty to three years. Splitting the cost on a next-gen system might be a wise idea.

    4. Big in Japan (kinda). Nintendo dominates in Asia, but at least the PS3 sold nearly two million systems... as opposed to the 360, which has yet to break a million units in Asia after three years on the market. Sony can help Microsoft understand that whole “Asia” thing a lot better. The world gaming market is growing to China, Korea, India -- places where Sony still has clout.

    5. And now, for the biggest reason of all: maybe, with two brains put together, they can help each other learn what “fun” means.

    Ten years from now, Sony will still have hardware engineering expertise on its side. Microsoft will understand software. But making all-in-one media systems isn’t where the money is, because in ten years, everything will be doing that already. Every PC can connect to a TV, or even replace a TV -- with YouTube, streaming video, downloaded rentals, and plenty of games. The Xbox 720, the PS4 -- they’ll be just like your computer. What Sony and Microsoft can’t buy, though, is innovation.

    By working so hard to add everything from the ability to play friends online to store your entire music collection, Sony and Microsoft forget the main point of the videogame system: To play videogames! Interfaces like the one the Wii has developed don’t come easily, and when successful, like the iPod, they can dominate for a decade or more. Everything plays games now. Cell phones, laptops, iPods -- and in ten years, your mobile phone will play pretty damn good games. Nintendo’s edge isn’t games -- it’s the fun factor, the unique experience. And it only needs to bump up its graphics to corner the market completely. The Wii’s unique controller, simple games, and easy-to-use feel, those are locked in. If the next Wii decides to become a true HD system, where will that leave Sony and Microsoft then?

    Developers go where the money is. Nintendo’s Wii and DS platforms were the top two selling game systems in the country in 2007. That’s what matters to the third-party companies that make most of the games -- not graphics. The biggest market will win. As of this writing, that would be Microsoft, with 9.15 million U.S. consoles sold. Second place in the U.S. is Nintendo, with 7.38 million. But not for long. Nintendo outsold Microsoft handily in 2007, and Microsoft’s reputation for making systems that break is growing daily. Worldwide, Nintendo dominates with 20.64 million systems, ahead of the 360’s 16.71 million. And they did it in less time.

    Nintendo has the finger on the mainstream. And with upcoming games like Wii Fit, they’ve understood that many people like the idea of getting off their asses and being active. They’re the party company, while Sony and Microsoft are selling hard-core gamers hard-core online experiences that require HDTVs for maximum appreciation -- HDTVs that most of the U.S. population still do not own, despite Best Buy ad campaigns suggesting the contrary.

    I pray Sony and Micrsoft will figure it out. Right now, I mainly use one (the PS3) as a DVD player, and the other (the Xbox 360) as a paperweight until it gets fixed. Meanwhile, the Wii gives me a reason to throw parties, instead of being antisocial. Who cares about going online in tournaments, when all anyone really wants to do is have some friends over and play games, like they did when they were seven?

    I’m sick and tired of trying to decide which game system is “the best.” And I’m even more sick of having my consoles break on me, going through system updates that take forever…the industry needs an Apple-style simplification, and Nintendo’s onto it.

    It’s not too late to catch up, Sony and Microsoft. But time’s ticking.
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  2. #2
    Animal Collective manred's Avatar
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    I love all these articles you find!

    This one is pretty interesting, seeing that the 360's weakness is hardware, which is what the PS3 is strong at. Yet, the PS3's weakness is software, which is what 360 is strong at.

    Either they should work together or find some way to improve on those weaknesses.

    Nice Article.

    Thanks CantGetAWii.

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  3. #3
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    i dont think they can. they would have done so already.

    microsoft is with toshiba on hd-dvd and sony with blu-ray. they are enemies.

    microsft offered sony the option to use their new vc-1 codec for movies but sony was too greedy i guess and said no which is what might have made ms more on toshibas side.
    this hidef format war is already a year and a half old if microsft had the power they would have ended this already.

  4. #4
    Raging Clue Budo's Avatar
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    Whether it's a Nintendo fanboy, Microsoft fanboy, or a Sony fanboy writing the article, they always seem to have one thing in common at the end: the article ends up being absolutely friggin' high-larious

  5. #5
    Guru of everything Ninty wezeles's Avatar
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    Good article right after my own personal view of gaming right now...

    Although I also think Sony/Microsoft combo in gaming would be a power house anyone would have trouble with its not going to be anything quick comming... You can see that by the history of Sony always wanting full rights and exclusivity on things just like betamax/mini disk/blu-ray although they are sharing blu-ray more this round then they have other techs they like to be the ones getting all the money usually meaning they fail in there efforts or just bump us up to the next level. There "new" products alot of times are looked at as the techies choice over the realistic choice.

    Microsoft although very strong in gaming i dont think is in it to win it.. They much like Sony use this as a addvertising base to future and current customers of microsoft as a whole, and the companys themself are just far too large to really need to drop out of gaming unless the gaming devision itself becomes such a big loss on the overall buisness that they are willing to drop it..

    If it went eaither way i think it would be that one tosses in the towel and says "I'm done with gaming Its just not making me money" in the end, it wouldn't be the two massive companys joining together on such a small aspect of there overall sales and buisness...

    If anything we need another large company(s) dedicated to gaming only like Nintendo to come in and buy them out and take over from a pure gaming fun point of view, not just as a dedicated add campaign to there current tech suave customers... The best things always came from the pure game companys like SEGA/Nintendo/Atari...

    Sony and Microsoft have added little to gaming in reality except for a great console itself for the dedicated game publishing companys like EA,Capcom,Activision,Square-Enix to bring games onto...
    Sure they have been a few great games pop up like Halo and God of War, but these types of games could have been made and probably more of them would have been made by a more dedicated Console company like SEGA back in the day...
    Last edited by wezeles; 02-06-2008 at 12:14 PM.


  6. #6
    Got lifeboat? sremick's Avatar
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    The Wii is a whole 'nother paradigm. It's really not direct competition for the PS3 or XBox. Effectively, Microsoft and Sony have a duopoly in the high-end high-def traditional console space. For them to join forces and produce just one joint console would be a suicide move... without competition, the console would stagnate, innovation would slow, prices would stay high and their target market of consumers would suffer as a result... without touching the Wii.

    Understand this: The Wii isn't successful because it's better competition to the PS/XBox. The Wii is successful because it opened up a whole different consumer base untapped by the others: the value-conscious low-tech casual gamer. The market for the PS3/Xbox 360 is the high-end high-tech cost-be-damned market.

    If you're a PlayStation or XBox fan, the last thing you want is for them to merge console divisions.
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  7. #7
    Raging Clue Budo's Avatar
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    Honestly, it comes from what perspective that you happen to be at the time. Some could argue that both software and hardware are the Wii's weak points, but those factors are trumped by it's low price. Some could support their argument, by comparing the software sales of all three major console competitors, and showing that the Wii sells - on average - significantly less than the other two. You could even take it a step further, and show that almost all Wii games are $49.99 or less, where as the other two average $59.99 (while still selling more games)

    Obviously if you don't have a ton of extra cash to spend, you'll feel that spending $400 on a console and $60+ on a game (+possibly an online sub) is a complete ripoff, but you really can't look at it that way if you truly like videogames. I look at the other forms of entertainment - movies, music, tv - and the most respected pieces aren't those that sold the most, but those that have something else to them. A complex story; interesting, in-depth characters; plot twists; uncertain personalities. Disney uses the simple, easily accessible model to great success, but at the same time they aren't penning any masterful works of literature.

    I like the Wii, but when I read articles like this that emphasize words like, simple, easy, etc., I can't help but frown. I don't see this as helping push the industry forward at all; I see it hurting it in the long run. I really hope the trend of cheaper is better doesn't continue, or we may see something similar to what happened to the industry in the early 80's.

    Nintendo pretty much singlehandedly brought the industry out of the crash, so I hope they don't turn around and - unwittingly - throw us back into another. In all honesty though, it more than likely won't happen, since the industry is a lot bigger than it once was... but you never know.

  8. #8
    An Instant Classic LevesqueIsKing's Avatar
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    Thats actually quite interesting. The guy's right, the two companies fit together like a puzzle piece. I had never thought of putting our [nearly inevitable] recession into the equation...

    Misleading title. I'm pretty sure you meant they should buy Playstation, not Sony

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  9. #9
    Guru of everything Ninty wezeles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Budo
    I like the Wii, but when I read articles like this that emphasize words like, simple, easy, etc., I can't help but frown. I don't see this as helping push the industry forward at all; I see it hurting it in the long run. I really hope the trend of cheaper is better doesn't continue, or we may see something similar to what happened to the industry in the early 80's.

    Nintendo pretty much singlehandedly brought the industry out of the crash, so I hope they don't turn around and - unwittingly - throw us back into another. In all honesty though, it more than likely won't happen, since the industry is a lot bigger than it once was... but you never know.
    True but Gaming as a whole hasn't been doing very well since the SNES days and SEGA Genesis when it was widely accepted in the homes by parents and children alike...
    I think the last gens kinda opened up everyones eyes with the sales of PS2 and popularity overall it was a nice boost.

    We got away from the "games are evil" aspect of the 90's and people accepted and started to use the rating system for gaming. Problem is you still wern't speaking to as large of an audience as once before. We now created an elite group of gamers the "hardcore" and it pretty much exiled the casual gamer. You eaither had to jump into gaming head first ready to go or you were disapointed at every turn.

    With the Wii it does give you a very family friendly feel almost too much, more so than ever with Nintendo in the past.
    Its a good thing though opening the market back up instead of it being passed on from one older brother down to his younger brother. The market is now flooded with everyone. Problem is they can't just turn there backs on the "hardcore" for sales sake, because then all it is is a hype system, a spur of the moment and none of the current casusal gamers will move much further and might even loose intrest by next gen.
    Hopefully all the interviews of the Nintendo CEO's stay true, and that they will support 3rd party better aswell as the "hardcore" and they leave it a huge open market appealing to everyone casual all the way up to ranks of hardcore and everything inbetween.

    Hopefully Sony and MS even follow suit and the world of gaming just blows up not limiting anyone from joining in. Thats what would be best for everyone.

    The crash only happend because they didnt limit anything in gaming durring its birth and everyone joined in to gain a buck even if it ment a quick cut and run job. With are standards and new laws in place i doubt anythign like the crash could happen again. Video games are viewed more like Movies the more money and time you put into them aswell as advertisment.. The more money you get out of them... If you toss something cheep or cheep out in any area your going to loose profits.

  10. #10
    Conquistador T3kNi9e's Avatar
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    Interesting article with some predictions from that guy that are only theories.

    I would never want any gaming company to merge. Merging means one less console for competition. Competition is a good thing, it brings the best out of people because everyone wants to be number 1. Nintendo has gone into a different direction and since its sales are up I dont see them changing that. So Sony + Microsoft are the only two really competiting since those are the most similiar and have the same type of consumer following.

    Though they make Microsoft seem like they could be going downhill its somewhat untrue. Despite Microsoft's estimate in repairs being around 1 billion, in a recent article they're actually making a profit in the gaming division, so I don't see them going downhill with how well they are doing.

    Also he says PS3/Xbox are becoming the same as PC's. But I don't see how that is bad. They have a certain technology built into a console and game devs make software depending on what it is. Unlike PC games that do not follow a certain system requirement, so people are forced to update their PC's non stop. Then there's the fact that a gaming PC costs 3 times as much as a gaming console.

    So if a console is just a cheap PC, who cares? Its CHEAP compared to a PC and you don't have to upgrade anything until a new console is released.
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