The console wars are generally determined by which company sells the most consoles thus becoming the market leader. It would also stand to reason that by selling the most consoles you have gotten that superlative amount of consoles into the hands of the most gamers but what if you're not targeting gamers? What if, much like Nintendo, you're actually targeting people who aren't gamers already? If you can attract a ton of new business from people who traditionally do not play consoles games, like all the old people, soccer moms and urban hipsters playing the Wii in all of Nintendo's advertisements, are you truly the market leader? Or, possibly, are you more like the summer blockbusters in the movie industry? You make the most money and get the most hype but, at the end of the day, the people who know the industry the best, the "hardcore" gamers, will never respect you enough to truly be in control of the industry.Nintendo may in a precarious situation when it comes to it's strategy with regards to the next generation of video games. They have sold a lot of consoles, admittedly a lot went to the true Nintendo fanboys who wanted to play Twilight Princess, but they are going to, and probably have already, sell a lot to non gamers. So does this, somewhere down the road, put them into an almost new category of the video game industry? Do they fall into some new category between cell phone gaming, which is amongst the easiest and most casual gaming, and pure console gaming, which Sony and Microsoft are fighting ravenously over? It could just be the case.
To be the market leader you'd have to be the one dictating trends in both what gamers want and what developers make. For the most part, Nintendo has no chance of ever being that. Hardcore gamers will not want every game experience, especially the most technical and skillful like real time strategy games and first person shooters, to feature controls which are not anything they are used to and may not apply to those genres and companies like Capcom, Square Enix and Bungie will not start making mini game filled fodder instead of deep, technically impressive games like Resident Evil, Final Fantasy and Halo respectively.
So, while Nintendo may not necessarily lose the console sales battle, they may lose the war over who controls and sways the video game industry in general for the near future.
Do you think that Nintendo can sell the most consoles but not be recognized as the console war victor?