Are PlayStation 3 And Wii Fans Polar Opposites?
I've always supported multi-console ownership. I feel naked with one console, even during my RPG craze of the original PlayStation era, when I basically despised the N64. Well, I loved the RPGs on the PC, too, so it was still technically "multi-platform," and ever since then, I've never only owned just one system. This is because there are always worthwhile games on all available consoles; the only question is whether there are enough of them - in your mind - to warrant a purchase.
Now, there have always been fans of particular consoles but at their core, even opposing fans are usually similar. They may have personal preferences, but they all tend to cherish and appreciate certain aspects of the industry. In looking at the PS3 and Wii, I realized that for the very first time, we might be looking at two extraordinarily different platforms that have spawned extraordinarily different followers; hence, we may be looking at two very different groups. The first comparison factor most will select is age, which is expected: the average demographic and target audience is indeed different for Sony and Nintendo, as both companies have plainly stated in the past. And you don't need that verification, either; anyone can see the distinct difference in target audience simply by opening their eyes. But this goes well beyond that...look at the consoles in question.
One claims to continually push the industry forward via cutting-edge technology and wishes to produce the software that defines progression and excellence. The other openly admits to not competing on the same technical level, while at the same time initially offering something new in motion sensing, and providing old and new gamers with widely accessible entertainment. I have no statistics to back it up, but I absolutely guarantee that more non-gamers have bought a Wii than any other console in history; it dragged in those who never played games before, from the ages of 8 to 88. That's nothing trivial and we all have to accept that it's quite the accomplishment and - perhaps indirectly - can be considered a boon for the industry on the whole. Those Wii-only casual gamers may get more involved and wish to dive in deeper, when Sony and Microsft will instantly benefit. It has probably already happened.
So maybe in time, Wii fans will become more similar to PS3 and 360 fans but right now, I think we're not only looking at different audiences, we're looking at different audiences that value very different things. The Wii aficionados will quickly get all defensive and say they like "fun" and Nintendo does "fun" and doesn't waste time with uber-insane technicals. But that's an inherently faulty argument as I honestly believe I've had plenty of FUN with my PS3 and 360 titles; arguably far more FUN than I would have had with most any Wii title. "Fun" is entirely subjective, of course. But you can add nostalgia and classic gaming into this argument, as Nintendo has stuck to their guns (Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc.) throughout, and we've started to see new franchises, heroes and mascots from the other two. Lastly, online play being as huge as it is, that pretty much leaves the Wii out of the conversation, which sets the Wii even further apart.
All I know is that any time I ever talk to anyone who only owns a Wii, they are either an admitted casual gamer (to the point where they never played video games before the Wii), or they have very little interest in "cutting-edge" and anything of that sort. I can't recall a time in history when any fan of any console wanted things that are so very...different. That's all.
6/21/2010 12:19:39 PM Ben Dutka