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The Future of Console Gaming

part 4/page 1


Just where is the video game industry going today? What will be wowing the masses tomorrow? Who's going to be the next big star, make the next big title? When can you expect it? How much is it going to cost? ...and most important, will it be worth it?

In the end, this is all for you to decide...


Part 4 - Summary/Round-up
[ by: Dr. Otto ]

   So, who is going to be the winner? This is always an interesting point of debate. It's hard to say who'll come out ahead this year, although bear in mind the market is large enough to support two, even three successful consoles nowadays. Let's take a look at the various strengths and weaknesses (or alleged ones, in the case of the GameCube and X-Box).

Sony PlayStation 2

* Most technologically advanced console at present time
* DVD compatibility
* Backwards compatibility
* Firewire/USB compatibility
* PlayStation reputation
* Currently in bed with SquareSoft
* Expensive when compared to competition
* Allegedly hard to develop for
* Needs more A-list titles
* No online support (yet)
* Tooth fairy easier to find on store shelves
Summary: An immensely capable system with excellent growth potential. However, issues like internet support and a steady stream of A-list titles need to be exploited quickly before its market is eroded by Sega, Nintendo, and Microsoft. The current unit shortage may not particularly help Sony's situation either; if units aren't available until March of next year, many people will hang on to their cash in favor of Nintendo or Microsoft's new offerings next Fall (how many people do you know who passed over a Dreamcast in order to buy a PS2? The same logic applies here). Still, the Sony brand is very highly regarded and has much public mindshare... it will all come down to the games; many of which will need to be new experiences as opposed to remakes of classic PSOne titles.

Sega Dreamcast

* Diverse library of strong 1st and 3rd party titles
* Internet capability
* Half the price of competition (will likely drop again
      in 1st/2nd quarter of 2001)
* Inexpensive games (many at or around $39.99)
* Easy to develop for
* Shortage of PS2 units will likely spur sales
* Not as powerful as competition
* Many A-list titles delayed (Half-Life, Unreal Tournament,
      Metropolis Street Racer, etc)
* Overall user-base below projections
* Sega of Japan sending mixed messages about future of
      company; consumer confidence low
* Questionable/insufficient marketing
Summary: An inexpensive, powerful system mired in the politics of it's parent company. While seemingly uncertain of which direction they wish to go, Sega of Japan may have a dark horse contender in the US once the price drops to $99, the mass-market acceptance number. High-quality titles from in-house production teams help this system stand out as does near-flawless online play via, but with not nearly enough public advertising exposure and the supposed eventual demise of Sega itself, establishing an identity with the consumer is tenuous at best. Still, the current PS2 shortage will help it through the end of 2000; it's continued success will depend on how soon it reaches that critical $99 price point.

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