There are two rules of life that apply to the gaming world as much as any other: money talks and the facts don’t lie!
Sometimes the truth hurts. I know, because over the last several months I’ve had to face several harsh truths I didn’t expect. We are still very early in the next-gen launch cycle. But instead of a joyous honeymoon period (where revolutionary news games and hardware are keeping us on a euphoric high), we are seeing a rather somber tone sweep over our industry. Why? Because only one company seemingly has the right to celebrate (that’d be Sony). The others are either trying to figure out how to undo the cluster-fuck that was 2013-early 2014 (that’d be Microsoft),or in Nintendo’s case, looking for a window to jump out of as their failed attempt at a half-gen console quietly burns their headquarters to the ground.
Some many think I make these claims out of sheer fanboy love for my beloved Son,; as I sit in my Mr. Burns-esque office, rubbing my hands together whispering “…EXCELLENT” to myself. However, that’s not the case. When I say I too have faced harsh realities over the last six months, I mean it. I hate to see hardship befall my childhood staple Nintendo, just as much as I’d love to see Microsoft get their second wind and pull ahead for the first time since its launch. Problem is, this isn’t Monty Python and I’m not going to walk around yelling, “’Tis but a scratch,” as my arm falls off.
Having said that, let’s examine the recently released sales figures in order get to the truth of where the three home consoles stand in the market today (and possibly where their future lies).
Sony’s PlayStation 4:
Outlook = VERY Promising
Even without a shred of sales data or market research, even the most uniformed amateur could come to the conclusion that Sony has hit a home run with their latest console. I’m actually not sure if they were just THAT good at rolling out their new next-gen tech, or if Microsoft’s debacle just made them look overly impressive in comparison. With current projections by the IDC suggesting that the system will reach over 50 million units worldwide by 2016, Sony’s future looks rosier than ever. Combined with other innovations like the Morpheus VR headset and PlayStation Now, this is the PS4’s race to lose.
Nintendo’s Wii U:
Outlook = Bleak
I’m not sure why I’ve gotten’ such heated vitriol from Nintendo fans when pointing out the Wii U’s shortcomings in the past, as I think reality speaks for itself. Perhaps it’s because some refuse to read the writing on the wall that suggests a major change is in store for their favorite game maker (and we all know how much people LOVE change). While I would rather not offend anyone, I can’t concern myself with that when legitimate analysis of the market is required. In that regard, I can tell you that current data frames the Wii U not just as a failure, but the anchor that will eventually pull Nintendo under the water and drown them. The company just reported a loss of nearly have a billion dollars for the end of its fiscal year 2013. Even the 3DS is estimated to show a dip in sales (which is their ace in the hole). Bottom line: this console is killing them. The Wii U is beyond a mistake at this point.
Microsoft’s Xbox One:
Outlook = Promising…but uncertain
You might wonder why I saved the Xbox One for last in this evaluation when, by all accounts, it’s #2 in the console market. While I’m hearing a lot of promising talk coming from the heads of the company regarding their new commitment and a “refocus” on games, I’m still not 100% sold. E3 is coming up soon and what Microsoft rolls into the LA Convention Center with as their cornerstone will help determine if they’ve truly found their way out of the woods. This is the diving rod I need to help judge what direction their path will lead. The IDC report on the other hand feels their success lies in a major hardware change;, namely dumping the Kinect from the system, which would allow them to drop the price to a more competitive level. I say all of the above.
So once again, I fall back to the safety and security of the numbers. While you may not agree with my opinions on this company or my predictions for that console, the numbers never lie. As I’ve highlighted in the past, video game sales are very much like an election. We vote with our gaming dollars to choose which consoles (or candidates) will win. Some rise to the top, while others are regulated to second-banana status (or just end up being forced out altogether).
That analogy just gave me a thought; I should market a “Don’t blame me…I voted for Nintendo” bumper sticker. I’ll make millions I tell ‘ya…MILLIONS!