Console guru Earl "TUG" Lovings hands out some informed opinions on the future of console gaming.
Microsoft. Nintendo. Sony. In 2009 these 3 companies will wage war once again. I have my own opinions on what could be on the horizon for each of them.
Let’s get one thing straight, 2008 was the year of the video game. It’s been called everything under the sun and more, year of the fighters, year of the Wii, year of my head spinning trying to keep up with this mess. Okay, so the last one was inserted for laughs, but it was still a great year to be a gamer. 2009 looks even more promising then last. With Street Fighter 4 hitting the market early next week, Fallout 3 already kicking off the year right, and many more titles to come in the first and second quarter of this year, it looks as if 2009 could topple 2008. But, in the midst of console warring, companies folding and filing for chapter 11, and a ever failing economy, who will prevail in the console war of 2009? Let’s break this down company by company and see what’s to come this proverbial 2009.
Dead last coming into 2009 and reporting their first loss in sales in 14 years, Sony has a lot on their plate and needs quite a few things to fall in their favor to take 2009 by storm. God of War 3 looks to lead the hype charge by dropping its release date at E3 this year. As I’ve mentioned before in my E3 article, Sony needs a huge showing and a price cut at or by E3 to at least give them a leg up this year. GDC in March could set the tone as to how things could play out for Sony. Also, third party exclusives and exclusives in general would also give Sony a huge boost. With Tekken and Final Fantasy XIII jumping the shark to a Microsoft console for the first time, that could put a dent in sales here in the U.S. for the PS3. Let’s hope Sony still has a few tricks up its sleeves and we have a great year for them.
The middle man of the group. In my opinion, Microsoft has given every hardcore gamer all it needs and then some. This first half of this year is no exception. But, the second half looks weaker than the first. Street Fighter 4, Halo Wars, Resident Evil 5, Fallout 3 (already out), and Grand Theft Auto: Lost & Damned, are just a few BIG name titles that are hitting in the coming weeks. Microsoft has always sent shockwaves at E3 and GDC. With Sony and Nintendo looking to have some impressive showings at each show this year, Microsoft better hope they have some big exclusives and huge surprises in store for everyone after the first half of the year, because things could be a bit shaky with Sony creeping closer and closer to Microsoft in console sales.
Leading the pack in the console war, it’s Nintendo and the Wii. Last year, everything hit early and shovel ware filled the rest of the year. Of course, fans are still outraged. With Madworld and The Conduit looking good, these 2 titles could be the mature titles that fans have been longing for. But, looks can be deceiving. Fans are screaming for a memory expansion and an HD upgrade, along side the “NO MORE SHOVEL WARE“ chants. Right now, a lot of Wiis are collecting dust due to the lack of worth while titles to play. Satoru Iwata will be giving the keynote address at this years GDC convention. If GDC and E3 are any kind of a indication as to what Nintendo has in store for fans this year, we shall get to see what cards they hold before they put them down.
So who can win in this epic “clash of the titans” style battle? Well, that all depends on who can make the biggest moves in this coming year. In my opinion, If Sony grabs enough exclusives and delivers a price cut, they have a great chance of storming 2009 and gain enough ground walking into 2010. If Microsoft keeps up the same battle plans that they have been sticking to, its going to be a great year for them and hardcore gamers alike. If Nintendo can please BOTH hardcore and casual gamers without alienating the hardcore group, while delivering a few great surprises, they have a very strong force that can not be defeated.
In my opinion, I think Microsoft takes the win this year. They have a lot of promising titles and they have made it very apparent that they plan on satisfying the hardcore gamer, no matter what. Nintendo, if they keep up the same plans, will drown in their own shovel wared mess. It has been said that Nintendo has too many crappy games on the market. Its hard to get the taste out of a lot of gamers mouth when you keep dropping terrible game after terrible game. Sony is going to need a bailout of their own if they don’t step up to bat and hit it out of the park at this point. People can buy a blu-ray player for much cheaper than a PS3.
The ball is on the court, the table has been set, and the battle lines are drawn. Its time to sit back and watch to see who will come out of 2009 as the top dog.