Immediately after reading the title, there are certain to be quite a few doubters. A lot of gamers will ask how a company as big as either Sony or Microsoft to be eliminated from the world of video games. Quite honestly, it’s very easy. It really wasn’t that long ago when gamers enjoyed some quality and addictive home consoles from a little hardware company called SEGA. The fan-following for SEGA was (and honestly still is) so diehard to this day, that many of them still believe another SEGA console (called Dreamcast 2) is coming eventually. It only takes a few consecutive missteps combined with some stiff competition and it is lights out for a player in the hardware business. Continuing with SEGA as an example, we can see clearly that mismanagement of funds, too many peripherals, and Sony’s emergence of the Playstation brand killed a strong console manufacturer. Neither Sony, nor Microsoft has made the high number of mistakes that SEGA did, but they’ve had their share. The RROD and Sony’s recent PSN debacle come to mind.
Flash forward to recent years and how the Nintendo Wii shocked everyone, including journalists, analysts and especially competitors. The hardware doesn’t have the lasting power (from a power standpoint) to stick around much longer, which is why we’ll be seeing some new hardware relatively soon, currently code-named Project Cafe. What does this mean for competitors? It means they might have to become reactive and ditch their current plans which put new hardware a ways off in order to capitalize on the upcoming motion controllers each launched last year.
This is where things get a little hairy for both Microsoft and Sony. Launching new peripherals, especially expensive ones, requires long term support in order to avoid ticking off early adopters and dividing your fan base. With the next Nintendo console launching in time for the holiday 2011 season or possibly 2012 (depending on the official word at E3), this might force the hand of the other two companies thus fracturing the consumer following between those who did buy the expensive peripherals Kinect and Move and those who didn’t.
The Xbox 360 just started making a profit for MS a couple of years ago and the Playstation 3 has finally become cost effective for Sony. One thing we all know about Nintendo is that they know how to make profitable hardware is both innovative and cheap to manufacture right out of the gate. With that in mind, Microsoft and Sony will be put in quite the tricky position once Project Café (Wii 2) launches. If the console develops a large following quickly, Nintendo’s competitors will have to respond quickly.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Can both Sony and Microsoft remain successful in the next-generation if Nintendo’s next console gets the momentum the Wii had early on?