Friday, September 4, 2009

The Life Cycle

I think it is now safe to say that the PS2 beat the GameCube and the Xbox...

Console Wars tend to always be heated when they are yet to be won. The 360 is definitely the favorite right now but it got a year head start and the PS3 has only pulled out one of its big guns- Metal Gear; Gran Turismo, God of War, and Final Fantasy have yet to come out. Final Fantasy XIII is multiplatform but FFXIV is exclusive.

People laughed when Sony came out with their 10 year life cycle plan for the PS3 and this was kind of puzzling. The PS2 is STILL going strong with a healthy lineup of games including your Maddens and Rock Bands, but it also has games like Jak and Daxter coming out in November and titles like Persona4 that came out December of 2008. Sure, the console is not pumping out games like before but in no way is it dead. The PS2 was released in 2000 and it has at least 20 titles coming out in 2010. The last Xbox game ever made was Madden 2009 that was released Aug. 2008.

The problem is that the perception currently among gamers is that once the PlayStation3 was announced the PS2 died. Many gamers were quick to jump to the 360 even though the xbox came out AFTER the PS2 and BEFORE the PS3. The Xbox came out Nov of 2001 and the 360 came out Nov of 2005. Why did gamers have so much faith in Microsoft when it was obvious that they were getting beat by Sony?

Console life cycle is NOT indicative of quality and just because a console outlasts another console does not make it the "victor" in the console war. But just about everything from the variety of games to the controller (xbox "fatty" launch controller) was better on the PS2. Plus the PlayStation had a great run that lead up to the tremendous success of the PS2 launch- the Xbox had 2 standout titles: Halo and Halo 2.

There were other great titles on the original xbox- Panzer Dragoon Orta, Jade Empire, Splinter Cell, etc. but the game that defined the xbox and helped cultivate the eventual 360 user base was Halo. XBL and Halo did more for Microsoft than any other title in the library. People played their xbox beyond 2008 because of Halo.

In fact some would argue that the xbox is not dead- people still play Quake on their Pentium II machines so that specific PC model is not dead either...but my original NES still works and on occasion I dust it off and play Mario so technically my NES isn't dead either.

The 360 when it is suffering from RRoD or E74 might be the only console that is dead (PS3 also has the YLOD and the PS2 is known for its disc read errors but nowhere close to the failure rates of the 360). Gamers dismissing Sony's 10 year plan might be puzzling but Gamers who are putting up with such severe failure rates on a console might be even more puzzling. Sure, Microsoft fessed up and offered to extend the warranty on these SPECIFIC issues- but a failure rate of OVER 50% should be grounds for a RECALL.

Has the culture of gaming shifted? More and more of my friends exclusively play shooters and sports games. I have friends who play Call of Duty, Madden, Gears, and Halo and THAT'S IT. Of course they would pick XBL and don't mind paying 50.00/year for a service that they use constantly. I pay the same 50.00/year but don't use the service to the extent that they do.

The gaming landscape has shifted and titles like the Last Guardian are not going to be nearly as important as Call of Duty 5 and unfortunately we as gamers might be doomed to move to whichever console has the newest Halo and that might be how we gauge the market. With Natal and Sony Motion Controls coming out I really expect this generation to last longer than people are projecting.

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