Cathode Tan - Games, Media and Geek Stuff
logo design by man bytes blog

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Quick History Lesson

For everyone applying the dual tools of shock and surprise to the fact that the XBox 360 will be a Media PC and that the Sony PS3 will have Blu-Ray and that apparently both machines will force us to throw out our old trust Normal Definition for that wacky new High Definition that all the kids have been talking about should read this:

These initial sales gave rise to the hypothesis that, in order to succeed, the new generation of consoles must do more than just play games. With the plethora of expansion ports available on the PS2, Sony seemed poised to insinuate its console into the middle of any home-entertainment system, thereby taking over the living room (assuming other Sony products had not done so already). Although it requires the purchase of an accessory, Xbox's ability to play DVD movies is interpreted in some quarters as Microsoft's attempt to gain a foothold in the living room, too.

More careful examination, however, shows that the PS2 DVD phenomenon was a brief anomaly. At ¥29,000 ($270), the PS2 was, in effect, the cheapest DVD player on the Japanese market when it was launched early last year. Once the price of DVD players had dropped sufficiently, PS2's sales became more like those expected of games consoles.

-- The Economist ... Dec 6th, 2001

Look, people buy game consoles to play games. It's as simple as that. The ability to hold or play MP3s or communicate with PCs or PSPs will be nice. For some people, it will be sweet as hell in fact.

But it's kinda like the Mac Mini. Yes, you can embed it into your dashboard. Sure, you can strap it to the back of your plasma TV. It's possible that with the right mechanical acumen, you could even make it into a robot. Most people? Most people will put it on their desk and use it as a computer.

The game companies are going to fill the airwaves with as much noise as possible about their products right now. Heck, the fact that a console can be used laying down or standing up is considered news right now. If any machine in my arsenal will take a playlist off another machine and sing some songs, that's great. But I'm not going to run out and buy a game console because of that. It's just value add.

Let's use a recent example. The PSP plays MP3's. Not many people bought it for that reason. In fact, two of my friends with PSP's plan on getting iPods in the near future.

I'd like to think that I could just get a PlayStation 3 and be done with the High Density DVD wars. I don't think that will happen. If the 360 can play MP3s over wifi, that's great ... but Apple seems to have my back there already.

I'm not saying that any of this won't be neat for consumers or help somebody push some units across the counter, but we should focus on what this is all about ... which is the games.

No comments: