Gamasutra's latest Question of the Week asked our esteemed audience of game industry professionals, educators and students for feedback on which next-gen hardware is actually being bought by game professionals at the end of next week, and why. Specifically, the question asked was as follows:
Q: As a video game professional, are you buying a Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo's Wii or both on their North American launch later next week? How are you securing your console (eBay, pre-order, queue?), and what underpinned your buying decision?
Interestingly, of the professionals we surveyed, the significant majority of them were more excited about Nintendo's Wii, and were intending to buy that console first. However, the PS3 wasn't left out entirely, and some curmudgeonly responders even insisted that they would buy nothing at all.
On the following pages, we'll highlight a few of the more interesting responses received.
(Please note that the opinions of individual employees responding to the Question Of The Week may not represent those of their company.)
I've secured a Wii through a company deal to get the console directly from Nintendo. I had planned to get one anyway, but was going to wait until I had tried one first, but couldn't pass up the deal. Especially since it meant I wouldn't have to wait in any lines anywhere. I'm still not convinced that the PS3 is worth $600, so I'll be holding off on that indefinitely.
If I decide to buy any next-gen console this holiday season, it will more than likely be the Nintendo Wii. Even as "justified" as publishers have become in basing higher game prices on rising development costs, they fail to realize games are now becoming far from impulse buy decisions. For those of us who are becoming increasingly more jaded by the lack of creativity in a lot of areas in the games industry, making game purchases comes down to heavy research, and a highly critical pick-and-choose attitude when it comes to selecting which games we will purchase. So far I am nowhere near impressed with the launch line-up of either the 360 or the PS3, both of which are mainly rehash EA Sports titles, games already released elsewhere just now with improved graphics, with barely any of the ones not falling into those categories presenting themselves as "I must play this or I will die" category.
I am increasingly wary of what is seemingly a more hardware-centric focus than a game-centric one. I haven't kept up with the various cost related information regarding these systems, but they are increasingly lowering my sense of more-bang-for-my-buck, as there seems to be inclusion of a lot of non-essential elements that have no "true" connection to a great gaming experience. All the bells and whistles are nice and all, but ultimately you can create a great and unique play experience without them, which usually leaves me priced out given there are only a few games I might marginally enjoy, among the even fewer amount of titles I feel I just have to have (which, unfortunately for them, and me, usually don't come out at launch anyway).
When I look at it, that's usually why the casual game market, and the various other forms of current digital distribution channels have picked up - the games can be picked up, played, at marginal cost, and you don't feel all that ripped off having purchased more than one given you're likely to find a number of them you like for the same amount as one "full-scale" game at retail. Technological upgrades are nice and all, but ultimately great games do not have to rely on them, and it seems a lot of developers have great technology with good but redundant game play, nowhere near as "revolutionary" as they would like to claim they are.
The Wii, even outside of its lower system and game price point, has going for it the stronger reputation of games that you can just pick up, play and enjoy. Eventually though, it will be necessary for me to own all of the systems. As much as people like to categorize things as a "Console War," its really more of a game of "Industry Tag." Rarely does any one system cater to every gaming need. Either one side has a great deal of "fun-quirky-easily playable and enjoyable" games but misses more of the "in-depth-hardcore-realistic" ones, vice-versa, and/or various other combinations that make a system's lineup seem lacking in some way. Either way, in the end, all of the systems will more than likely end up with games worth playing, whether they are worth the wait, or the price to be the first kid on the block to play them, has yet to be seen.