Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cross-Platform Game Selection Problem = Market Share

With more and more developers jumping on the Wii bandwagon, and more to come, this can only be a good thing for everyone. However, there is one problem with this. Anyone who owns a 360 or PS3 and a Wii will have a difficult problem to face, one which in the end could in itself determine the market share winner. Consider you own a 360 already and you buy Wii on release. The 360 will immediately give you access to Gears Of War, COD3, Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway, Halo 3, Madden 07, etc. However, you will also find Wii versions of COD3, Hell's Highway, Madden, etc also available. In the past, when you owned a PS2 and Xbox, there wasn't a need to own two versions of the same game as they both played exactly the same, there was no fundamental technological difference. But here's the rub...So you own COD3, BIA, Madden on the 360. But you'll need to own the Wii versions of the same games to get the full Wii experience. You won't just be relying on Wii-Sports and other Nintendo exclusives. You'll also want to enjoy COD3 and the innovative spin it can offer. The problem with all this is that that "Wii60" owner will now be burdened by having to purchase TWO versions of the same game for all the big releases whenever they go shopping. I cannot see anyone owning a "Wii60" buying only the 360 version and abandoning their Wii for purely the Nintendo exclusives. At some stage, during a high turnover of cross-platform games in 2007, there is going to be a developer support shift based on consumer game sales. The possible scenario that I'm proposing is that either one of two things results from this situation - a) Consumers end up buying big on the Wii if it has a lot of the big 3rd-party cross-platform titles coming to it's Wiimote technology, forcing the 360 and PS3 into 2nd and last spot respectively in the market share, or b) That the 360 will beat out the Wii considering the same big cross-platform titles will potentially look a lot better and release sooner than on the Wii. Couple that with development standards favoring the 360 architecture, continued Live Anywhere developments, and the Hi-Def era. As in, people may end up buying the 360 to serve as their heavy-duty gaming console, buy all the big cross-platform titles for the 360, and buy the Wii more as a secondary console - something that you use less often, buying only Nintendo exclusives for it. Therefore, the Wii starts to fade a little more in time. Developers start falling off the bandwagon, and the Wii's 3rd-party support dries up. A lot will also depend on how strong Nintendo's Online will be, whether it offers the same global reach as XBL or is constrained in any way. Of course, there is always the possibility that "Wii60" owners will just always purchase two versions of the same game, but I would think this percentage of the population would be significantly smaller to see both the 360 and Wii flourish side by side thuout the entire next-gen cycle. The stronger the Wii looks, once Nintendo fully reveals it and it's technical capabilities, and the more 3rd party cross-platform games that come to it, I feel, would be the defining reason why the Wii may gradually eke out a clear market share lead in next-gen. The only thing that can or will stop it is the 360 and its bevvy of awesome exclusive titles like Gears of War and Halo 3. I'm neglecting the PS3 because a lot of its previous exclusives are appearing on the 360, leaving the 360 a clear favorite over the PS3 in gaming selection. That trend looks set to continue with PC ports weighed in to the equation. There isn't the same library of exclusives as the PS2 enjoyed. While the high-price of the PS3 will rule out any notion of a "PSWii" phenomenom. Clearly, the Wii gaining big 3rd party cross-platform titles, and the consumer choice of buying one version or the other, is going to have a much bigger effect on the market share. This factor has been overlooked previously. Even if the graphics are slightly inferior on the Wii, the potential is that the gameplay, fun, and experience of playing a game like COD3 could still end up being superior to the standard controller 360 version. Really, then, the whole "Wii60" notion is a bit false when it comes to game purchases. The 360 (and PS3) will definately feel the stiff competition of Wii game sales, which will be hell-bent on decimating the 360's (and PS3's) game sales. The big plus for MS is the bevvy of exclusive killer-apps on the 360 and all the newly acquired ex-Sony exclusive titles. I can see a big Nintendo v MS rivalry in the making....


Blogger PS3 Fan said...

BS all exclusives hav not gone to X360 this is complete rubbish.

7/27/2006 02:48:00 AM  
Blogger gg said...

I didnt say all. I said a lot. 360's killer apps of GOW + Halo 3 (for now) + all the currently acquired ex-sony exclusives, is a trend that will only keep happening.

7/27/2006 02:50:00 AM  
Blogger SUPRAMAN84 said...

Good Article.

7/27/2006 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger SUPRAMAN84 said...

I licked a PSP and got crabs. :o

7/27/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger gg said...

Not sure if the reverse of that would apply.

7/27/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Zucas said...

Very good article but I think when we all right future articles looking more deep into the market you need to look at one thing. X360 has a strong line of exclusives this Holidays 2006 for one and only reason. That being it's the only console out for a year so it's the only one devs could put some big games on to be that way. Will that list of exclusives start to diminish as we hit 2007 where PS3 and Wii are fully out. Apsolutely.

2007 is whole new game. We got all 3 consoles out and now devs have 3 choices instead of one. And if the PS3 and Wii takeoff at launch and start catching the 360 quicker than expected then Holidays 2007 will be so huge that it could make or break each console. But I'm looking forward to that. 2007 will be really interesting.

7/27/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger gg said...

For sure, what you suggest is true Zucas. Developers, therefore games, only release on the consoles that are selling the most. If you get, as predicted, an even split of market share between all 3 companies, thruout 2007 and beyond, the same cross-platform games will be found on all 3 systems. If one clearly wins market share over the others, then likewise, developers and games will start to be dominated by the one console. We saw this last gen with ps2. This gen poses to be different, more equal, with Sony losing its dominance due to prices, the wii being so popular, and the 360 cementing reputation.

So, really, in an even split market, the main problem for Wii60 owners is still i buy BOTH games for my systems, or do i buy only for the 360 (with better live, graphics, hi-def) and just use my Wii for when family/friends are over for nintendo 1st party games only?

This will be the choice facing those people. So, this could force 3rd party support to drop on the wii if the majority of cross-platform game sales favor the 360. Ex, if COD3 sold 2 million 360 games, but only 100,000 wii games. Developers could reason no use developing at such expense for Wii. More and more of this happening will force the Wii to be another GC.

The reverse is also true...if those people end up deciding to buy the Wii version instead, because it is just more fun, with COD3 Wii sales being 2 million and 360 sales being 200,000, then developers will stop supporting the 360. Therefore the Wii will win market share if all cross-platform games just play more fun on the wii.

Also, of course the PS3 is going to have a big say in all this. They're not dead at all. But with Sony being the way they are....150 dollar pre-orders, software licensing, supercomputer, 600 is too cheap, dev kits 100,000 dollars each, and cell so much harder and more expensive to develop for, the ps3 stands a real chance of losing consumer and therefore developer support in favor of the 360.

Youve seen the developer poll and how they mainly favor the 360 and MS's relationship with them.

The real chance is that the 360 will beat out the PS3 for consumer purchases and developer support, leaving the battle for market share lead between the 360 and Wii....and in that scenario, 3rd party cross platform games will be the deciding factor which comes on top, which one the consumers prefer to buy. Maybe they even buy both all the time. In that case, both Wii and 360 enjoy equal lead. But Sony is in danger of slipping into 3rd.

Remember, ease of development, hi-def era, and live anywhere, and XBL vs Ninty Online...will also play their part in which cross platform game the Wii60 owners will choose above the other.

7/27/2006 12:00:00 PM  
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8/12/2006 05:20:00 PM  

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