Friday, July 2, 2010

The 3 Gaming Companies. Explained

I've been feeling the urge to go a little more in depth with this. So without here it is, an explanation of the three gaming companies.

Before I start, yes I know the Eye Toy was the real first motion control device for gaming, but seeing as Nintendo built a system around motion controls, they get the point.

Gaming has come a long way. No one can deny that. But what have the big three, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, done for the American gaming industry? Nintendo is the oldest, most experienced and doesn't look like it will go down until Armageddon. Sony has been there for a while, found it's footing and is ready to stay. And then Microsoft has come around, doing things right with the 360, well sort of.

Let's look at the eldest child first. Nintendo has been making games since the 1980's and before that was a card game company. They have fought and won over countless advertising campaigns the competition had against them. They have developed a longstanding and loyal fan base with the Super Mario and Legend of Zelda series and have perfected giving their fans what they want.

As the oldest child, Nintendo is the first to set the "growing pains" for the industry. From family friendliness to the graphics wars to motion controls. Nintendo has been through them all. When the Sega Genesis came out, the huge "Sega does what Nintendoes't" campaign boasted about better graphics and blood and gore in their titles. Nintendo retaliated with the N64, which blew the PS1 outta the water graphically, but is still hesitant to accept that blood and gore sell in the marketplace. This is seen by the games that with the shelves today for the Wii, No More Heroes, MadWorld, and the like are overflowing with blood. Making this like the when that kid in your high school didn't grow till his senior year. I can't knock a company for having some values it doesn't want to compromise. This whole motion control bullshit is just one more thing that everyone has to get outta their systems, plain and simple, it's a gimmick. At the end of the day, the people flailing their controllers around are the same ones that turn the controller on the side when they play MarioKart. "Oh no a left turn I have to turn the controller 90 degrees to the left!"
Anyways, Nintendo is afraid of change. It's true. They didn't want to ditch the cartridge format even though CD's were cheaper and easier to produce to the 3rd party, and they constantly release the same games. While I love Zelda and Mario, Zelda has been the same game since A Link To the Past, and since Super Mario 64, the plumber has only gotten a few new toys to play with. No new heroes have really come into the Nintendo spotlight, and all of the best selling games are a part of a longstanding series. Don't believe me? Look at the news from E3 this year. Nintendo is releasing a boat load of games, and re-making some of it's best hits. Not too surprising thought, Sony has most of the 3rd party developers and cross platform generally games aren't as good.

Let's look at the Youngest child. Microsoft. in an effort to grow up quickly it hopped onto the screen boasting better graphics. Dropping out Halo and it's multi-player onto the hoards of people obsessing over graphics and not wanting to play these "kiddy" games. I don't think I can pinpoint the exact moments it happens, but when a new type of gamer hops into the world of video games, it changes. Halo was "cool". Regenerating health, space Marines, Sci-fi. It scored. And the kinds of people who played Halo, also played a lot of sports games. People wanted realism and online multi-player. The Xbox didn't have much to right home about the, good games were also on the PS2, and the stuff that sold were Halo remakes and sports games. When the 360 was released, things got better. These "Haloids" had time to find out about actual fun games, the community had time to adjust and learn to like Halo, and more 3rd party support went to the 360. But we were still shaken, games now needed to be more realistic. I never saw a reason to own the Xbox. I want a 360, but it's like buying an Apple product. There will always be a better, cheaper version if you wait three months. Things are better since it came out. Hard drives are standard, multi-player has been made better through online play, systems have more support from developers and since gaming is now mainstream, it is easier for the 3rd parties to find a starting place. It strove to be different, to reach out to a new audience, and it succeeded

Which brings me to Sony. First to use CD, successfully (sorry SEGA). Which gained a lot of 3rd party support. Cheaper and easier to make 3rd party games for, it quickly outsold the N64. With the help of the Final Fantasy series and developers like Naughty Dog. It was obvious that Sony was here to stay. Sega lost support through failed add-ons and, though the Dreamcast might have been better than the other 3 consoles released at the time, we will never know. Loads of games came out for the PlayStation. Strange games, new games, stuff we had never seen before. With the 3rd dimension opened up, videogames were about to have a universally accepted change for the better. The PS2 came out, and became the best selling system of all time. And why shouldn't have been? It boasted the lowest price and the largest library. So many gems, and a whole lot of RPGs. The PS2 bridged the gap nicely from the Gamecube to the Xbox. Serving as a pleasant middle ground, it wasn't uncommon for multiple consoles in the same house, exposing gamers to other types of games, like RPGs. The massive output of RPGs for the PSone and PS2 made RPGs more popular, and can be attributed to how popuar RPG elements are today. The middle child, it doesn't need to try to do anything to stand out, but follow along with the others. It has the most friends because it doesn't want to piss anyone off.

Also, Microsoft? I'm still calling it Natal, and do you remember how well the Eye Toy did?

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