Some of the video game industry's smartest minds thought that couch potatoes wanted richer graphics and more challenging virtual worlds. It turns out that a lot of potatoes simply wanted to get off the couch.
Nintendo's strategy is short-term, sell as many Wii consoles as it can until the fad dies out.
Sony's strategy with the PS3 is a long-term strategy that requires a lot of money and a very powerful machine, the PS3 will likely still be around and kicking ass in the next 5-10 years just like the PS2.
I don't know if you can accurately portray Nintendo's strategy with the Wii as short term. They put many years and yen worth of R&D into the Wii, and are attempting to provide a new way to enjoy a video game console, not just provide a short term fad. (They did the same thing with the NES controller - that was new and unprecedented at the time as well.)
The thing with the Wii that will not advance well in the upcoming years is, obviously, graphics and sheer computing horsepower. It took developers a number of years to be able to get the best bang for their graphic buck with the X-Box, PS2 and GameCube, and we can assume the same thing for the PS3 and X-Box 360 this time around. That just won't happen with the Wii, at least not to the same degree. That is truly the only thing that I can see in which the Wii will be left beind in any sort of long term strategy.
But my question is this - does the severe lack of appreciation of the Wii's graphical power mean that it's shelf life, so to speak, will be less than the X-Box 360 and PS3? It may be that you are banking on the Wii being a fad, as you mentioned, and not worth a look at in a few years time, but I have to disagree with you on that.
I don't really think anyone can accurately pinpoint just what sort of plan Nintendo has up its sleeves right now. Do they push with the Wii for only a few years before unveiling a more powerful system? Will their next system keep the motion sensing capabilities of the Wii, or will they revert to a "normal" controller? Will they try do something completely different again? When will all of this actually happen? Those are really questions that can't be answered right now.
No one can guess what the mass market will buy in to. If you look at the fight between the DS and the PSP, I would have put money on the PSP being the winner purely based on power, and I would have been wrong. Well at the moment anyway.
Games company's want to sell lots of games, its that simple and if the PS3 is held up by the wii, then who knows what will happen. I think the wii is kind of helping the 360 some way. But that may be my odd opinion.
I have a 360 and a Wii, the PS3 isn't out in Europe yet, but I do plan to purchasing one at Christmas because some of the games look like fun. And that is what it comes down to for me, great game play and then great graphics. The Wii can offer the first one and not do a bad job with the second.
The race is still on.
Wii will die out in 6 months once the momentum is lost.
the Wii a fad? maybe, but if you look at the DS, no chance. My girlfriend had a party, and her friends all had a DS. They played a little tennis, and decided to buy a wii. Everybody likes the Wii, friends of mine who never wanted to play, like the Wii. The only problem will be that they scare off hardcore gamers. zelda was great, but not very difficult. and more games have this problem.
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