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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dragon Quest DS

The Dragon Quest series of games has a decent-sized following in the US, but in Japan it's pretty much the gold standard of gaming. This is the series people wait in line for; the sort of thing that causes productivity to lapse and riots in the streets. Okay, probably not riots, but the popularity of the series in Japan is hard to imagine. It's like Halo, Lord of the Rings, and Madden all rolled into one. To sell the maximum amount of units, the series always goes to the system with the largest user base, and of course that's been the PS2 for a very long time.

That just changed.
-- Dragon Quest IX is heading to ... the DS? WHOA [Ars Technica]

This is widely reported to be a slap in the face to Sony for whatever reason. I'm not sure about that - I don't think this is being done because Sony's not the favorite son of the blogosphere right now ... I think it's because the saturation rate of the PlayStation 3 is well behind the curve of the Nintendo DS.

So it's not so much, I think, an opinion on Sony as a company but rather the fascinating realization by a major software developer than for the near future the next PlayStation 2 is not the PlayStation 3. Nor is it the Wii. And it is definately not the 360. It's the DS. It's got a massive audience, the hardware has proven potential, and it's not expensive to produce a product. Plus the sales figures indicates that the market will continue to grow for at least the short term - and with Nintendo's track record probably well beyond.

I do hope we see more of this motion towards the DS, however. I personally like the Wii because it's something of a "this" generation console. It's for those people who haven't dove into HDTV's and media computers. The DS, however, fits that bill even more so ... and I've been wanting decent coop RPG goodness for the DS ... so color me pleased as punch here. I've been missing my DS a little as of late and this is precisely the kind of thing to make me forget Starfox happened along my way.

I doubt this will remain exclusive, though. The question is - who will get this kind of developer support after the Wii and PS3 have ramped up production?

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