PlayStation 3 Owns All The Momentum Heading Into The Holidays
As we all know, the holiday season is absolutely crucial for most industries, and that most certainly includes video games. This year, and for the very first time, I can honestly say Sony's next-gen machine has Bogarted all the momentum as we head into the always-lucrative holiday months.
Why? It's not about the smaller picture; it's about the bigger picture, which means we have to analyze 2008 and the near future; let's say, the first part of 2009. Consumers are most interested in how a product has fared recently, and whether or not they'll be happy with their purchase down the road. Of course, the consumer realizes it's impossible to predict the future, but in the game industry, they can definitely examine the next 6-12 months or so. Now, the Wii has a substantial lead, but without the software, that lead is bound to dissipate (no arguments from the Wii fanatics; that system has nothing all that significant on the horizon as far as I can see), and the Xbox 360 has been slipping. The reliability issue is still there - sadly - Too Human flopped, and Microsoft is going to pin most of their holiday hopes to Gears of War 2 and Fable II.. ...those are fine games to pin your hopes to, of course, but in my opinion, it's not enough to steal away the acquired PS3 momentum.
For the first time in 2008, the PS3 outsold the 360 consistently during several months, and we've seen two of the defining games of the generation already. One of them is the multiplat Grand Theft Auto IV but the other is the PS3 exclusive, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. And before 2008 is out, the PS3 will have LittleBigPlanet, Resistance 2, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, SOCOM: Confrontation, the freshly released Wipeout HD and more. Furthermore, in moving to that bigger picture: Blu-Ray will continue to become more accepted - it's the default high-definition movie choice, and the PS3 is the only game console capable of HD movies - and both the Network and Store have come a long way. The Network remains free, and with the mammoth 160GB PS3 set for the holidays, there will be plenty of appealing benefits to considering a purchase.
Then, down the road. In terms of exclusives, the PS3 easily leads the 360 in 2008 (although it's closer in comparison to the Wii), and that lead should expand in 2009. Killzone 2, God of War 3, Heavy Rain, InFamous, White Knight Chronicles, and others will probably lead the way, and gamers are well aware of the impending schedules. Lastly, in terms of price, the PS3 has come down $200 since its launch less than two years ago, and as of now, there's little difference between the 360 and PS3. The Wii clearly is the most affordable and the most accessible for the casuals, but without the system-selling games, the PS3 will gain ground. So many analysts and journalists have already called 2008 "the year of the PS3," and this holiday season should solidify that claim. Oh, and what's really stopping 2009 from being another big one for Sony's machine...? Momentum is essential, and whoever has it in October has the big edge in December.
The PlayStation 3 just scored, promptly picked off the QB on their opponent's next possession, and is once again driving the field in front of a roaring home crowd. The defense is their heels, the bench is goin' nuts, and the receivers have super glue on their fingertips. Can't see it any other way.
9/25/2008 Ben Dutka