What Constitutes A "System Seller?"
With Killzone 2 mania in full swing, it becomes a distinct possibility that Guerilla's stellar FPS will cause a spike in PlayStation 3 hardware sales, much like Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots did in the middle of 2008. But these days, given the fantastic diversity of the next-gen consoles, there are plenty of factors to consider when purchasing a new system. Therefore, does this put added strain on the software?
In other words, does a game have to be one of the best titles ever made in order to coerce a consumer to buy a new system? Obviously, there are a few requirements: the game can't be played on a machine they already own, for instance, and that one title has to play a major role in the decision. This has always been the case in the past. PS2 sales really didn't take off until Gran Turismo 3 launched in 2001; many came right out and said they were waiting for the game to release before springing for Sony's new system. Others said they were waiting for MGS2 or FFX, which came out later that same year. In this current generation, though, people seem to be especially careful about making an especially expensive purchase. Therefore, perhaps we need something like Killzone 2 in order to push consoles; so far, the only other game capable of having a significant impact on PS3 sales has been MGS4. ...and yeah, we're all well aware of that particular title's quality.
But apparently, this is what it might take to become a legitimate "system seller." It can't just be exclusive; it has to be absolutely amazing. It has to be a landmark production. Perhaps it's these we have to look for in the future when trying to predict hardware sales: what are the upcoming titles that will push hardware sales for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo?
1/29/2009 Ben Dutka